Melanie Tonia Evans

Trauma Bonding – Is It Love Or Something Else?

Written by Melanie Tonia Evans Permalink 8

When you connected with your narcissist, did you feel like finally you had met true love? Was the connection so intense and powerful that you believed your love was truly meant to be for ever, regardless of the pain your experienced?

I hear the same story time and time again, in fact nearly everyone who has joined the NARC Facebook page agrees that the relationship to the narcissist initially felt like the greatest love of their life.

This article explains how this incredible connection occurs and why the bond of love feels so compelling…

When we first became attached to the narcissist, we had the deep and powerful inner belief that this relationship was ‘the one’ – it felt so real and so true to us. It felt astoundingly ‘right’. We thought we had hit the jackpot.

Over time the cracks started appearing, yet we still experienced the glorious times (even if they became less and less) of this ‘delightful person’ who we wanted to believe was the partner of our dreams.

Of course we had to employ all sorts of psychological defences to protect this belief.

We were all conditioned to believe that powerful and all consuming feelings, and the ‘not being able to stop thinking about someone’ and ‘feeling an intense attachment’ must mean love.

We were taught very little about real love – as a safe, supportive, calm, regenerating and trustworthy entity. And we didn’t realise that true and real love necessitates a deep knowing that you are the other half of a safe, supportive and genuine ‘team’.

Narcissistic relationships, in all reality, do not and cannot fit into a healthy description of ‘love’.

Maybe we never knew what ‘safe’, ‘respectful’ ‘reliable’ love was.

Maybe it seemed unrealistic, too hard to achieve, or maybe even boring….

Maybe we have only ever know feelings of fear, deprivation, unease, persecution, anxiety and then the glorious highs that DO come when agony is temporarily relieved with the feelings of ‘Thank God he does get it’, ‘He really does love me” and ‘Now the pain will stop’.

But of course these feelings of euphoric relief and release never lasted. They were simply the reprieve between the hills of the terrorising roller coaster.

Maybe we never realised that when we really ‘fell in love’ with the narcissist, something much more sinister was engendering our powerful feelings of love and attachment.

It seems ludicrous and insane to believe that someone treating you poorly could make you want them, love them, and attach you so powerfully….

…but it is OH so true…

Let’s find out WHY…


Trauma Bonding – Number 1 – Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm syndrome has been widely documented, and proven to be a very real deal. The conditions of narcissistic abuse are ripe to create this phenomenon.

Firstly the victim feels that they cannot escape the relationship, this is for the reasons of not wanting to shatter the glorious dream of ‘what this relationship is meant to be’, the loss of lifestyle, finances, security, children’s wellbeing etc., or because of the very real threat of how disastrous life may become when trying to leave and inciting a narcissistic injury within the narcissist, which inevitably brings revenge and destruction.

Therefore, automatically the roles have become prisoner and persecutor. The prisoner’s wellbeing depends heavily on how the persecutor is treating her or him on a daily basis. The prisoner knows that there is a very real threat of cruelty and pain being inflicted by the narcissist, and therefore will try to minimalise the torture, by firstly focusing a great deal of attention on ‘the enemy’, and then trying to find a heartfelt connection with the narcissist to procure nicer treatment.

The narcissistic becomes the deliverer of good or bad treatment, and when good treatment comes, there is so much hope and relief that the pain is going to end that the victim focuses on the good times, and ‘conveniently’ numbs out the bad times – even dismissing them.

The good times are so much about relief, and I can breathe again, and the danger is over for now – that they feel like intense joy, love and appreciation.

Victims who suffer Stockholm syndrome within narcissistic abuse are significantly detached from the real world around them, and are instead enmeshed in the narcissist’s demand, emotions and tormented world.

This often happens as a result of self isolation preferred by the victim, regarding loss of self-esteem, deep inner shame, and the not wishing to confront the outer world which is full of questions regarding the victim’s apparent reclusive behaviour and disconnection from previous interests, friends and family – as well as, of course, the narcissist’s wrath for having any interests that don’t pertain to the narcissist.

Stockholm syndrome feels like ‘love’, as it is a deep attachment to another person for emotional and literal survival.

No different to a child trying to instinctively cling to, grant attention to, love and inspire kindness and security from an abusive parent.


Trauma Bonding – Number 2 – Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance occurs when there is tension created as a result of two opposing thoughts. A simple real life example is the thoughts ‘I want to stay home and relax, but I’d really like to meet up with friends tonight.’

In order for a person to be able to comfortably accept their choice without anxious feelings of having made the wrong decision (the lingering of inner shame) –a justification for the choice has to be created. Such as ‘It’s totally okay to honour myself, and not meet up tonight – I owe it to myself to relax. If I’m okay with that they will be too.’

In the case of narcissistic abuse, the thoughts of ‘This is abusive and unbearable and I need to get out of this relationship, are in total contrast with ‘I have to stay and make this work.’

In order to ease the inner anxiety of having made the wrong choice, justifications have to be fabricated to offset the inner knowing of horrific abuse.

These justifications are ‘stories’ such as ‘I know she loves me, and she’s doing her best – it’s just that she had a horrible childhood’, or ‘I know this relationship is meant to be, and I am going to stay and see it through’, or worse still ‘He really is a great guy, it’s me with all the problems, and I know I make him like this’, or ‘If I love him enough, I know I can heal him’ or ‘I’m the only person that understands her. I can’t leave her, it’s my duty to stay and love her with everything I have.’

In order to rectify the cognitive dissonance of narcissistic abuse, huge overcompensations of reasons to stay have to be created in order to offset the deep inner shame of accepting and enduring abuse.

These justifications have to be powerful enough to seem real to the victim, and they serve to create even greater feelings or attachment, devotion and love.


Trauma Bonding – Number 3 – Repetitive Compulsion Disorder

I have written before about this very real phenomenon in my eBooks, and it is definitely worth mentioning again as one of the key elements of trauma bonding.

Narcissists are unpredictable in nature. The dealing out of random and conflicting abuse and support creates heightened anxiety and addictive state within their victims.

The example I like to use to explain this disorder is what happens to lab rats when they have a button, which releases food pellets, that is set on ‘random’. Normally the rat knows how many times to push the button to receive his meal, and is very content with that.

However, when the button becomes unpredictable and unstable the rat goes into a frenzy pushing the button until the floor of the cage is littered with pellets. He is more interested in staying ‘hooked on’ pushing the button than attending to his own self care.

The rat is addicted to pushing the button (trying to get it to act predictably), just as a gambler is hooked to a poker machine, and just as a narcissistic abuse victim is hooked on trying to gain stable, sane, and safe behaviour from the narcissist.

When life is ‘dangerous’ with any hope of ‘relief’, our psychological and emotional survival wiring compels us to hang on, and put all our energy into finding relief from the danger. Manic fear and pain reigns until the euphoric relief of the situation presents.

If the button was re-set to a standard number of pushes the rat relaxes again, yet if the button was taken out of the cage, the rat would suffer survival panic.

If the addicted gambler wins a jackpot, she experiences temporary relief that she has won back her money lost, yet if she is removed from the poker machine before winning, she will find a way to get back to a machine as soon as possible.

If the narcissist attends to your needs, apologises and acts like he or she has reformed, you feel incredible relief and that you have been removed from the war-zone. Yet, when the narcissist leaves the scene and is no longer reassuring you, you suffer severe separation anxiety that can feel akin to a heroin addict deprived of the next fix.

Repetitive compulsion disorder creates intense addiction anxiety, which can only momentarily be relieved by ‘jackpots’, but never takes long for the anxiety to reach an intense peak again – and of course when we don’t know better, we think these feelings of I can’t live without you and I can’t think about anything but you are ‘love’.


Trauma Bonding – Number 4 – Peptide Addiction

With all of the survival fears, powerlessness and anxieties taking place, a great deal of neuro- peptides, resulting from your disturbed, fearful and unstable thoughts, are manufactured in your hypothalamus (chemical manufacturing plant of our brain) and are distributed into your blood stream and received by the cells of your body.

Our cells get addicted to the peptides they receive powerful doses of, and then physiologically we get addicted to getting more of these peptides, which the narcissist triggers within us regularly.

This creates feelings of I need his attention, I need his validation, I need his approval, I need his support, I need his love, I need him to provide me with some RELIEF and eventually just like a drug addict licking the crumbs off the lounge room rug, we will try to get any amount of the narcissist’s energy regardless of how damaging and soul destroying it is.

What we don’t realise, in our obsessive quest for relief, that it is the pain and intensity of the dramatic highs and lows that the cells of our body have become addicted to.

We have become a helpless addict, and our drug dealer is the narcissist. He or she is dispensing  regularly our body cells’ drug of choice – narcissistic abuse.

The thought of breaking away from the narcissist of course, at this level, feels unthinkable, and impossible to do.

And of course, we mistake it for ‘love’.


Trauma Bonding – Number 5 – Infantile Regression

In times of intense trauma it is common to regress back to your most instinctual learnt behaviour in order to try to survive. This is the clinging of a child to the ‘parent’ you believe is powerful and able to provide some sort of relief to the trauma at hand.

What happens when the closest person that you perceive as a source of support happens to be a cruel and abusive narcissist? The answer is ‘No difference’, because you have already formed powerful attachment and addiction bonds that want to create this person as your saviour.

By reading all the prior information on this blog – now you can understand why.

Infantile regression is powerful, unconscious and a primitive survival program that operates at the very core of your being. Your maturity and self-reliability goes out the window, and is replaced by utter childlike helplessness.

In this state you believe that you will literally die if you do not agree with the narcissist, take the blame, do anything to keep the peace, and grant everything the narcissist wants in the primitive hope that the onslaughts will stop and you will be allowed by the narcissist to avoid complete emotional annihilation.

Your rights are completely withdrawn by yourself and numbed out in your need for survival.

The perverse twist to this is that you have now surrendered your soul to the narcissist and idolised this person as ‘Your God’, who has the ultimate power to dictate your fate.

Then when the narcissist ‘allows’ you to exist again, your idolisation becomes the pathological survival belief: This person is the Creator of my world.

What greater illusion of ‘love’ could there ever be?

The truth about love that you need to travel towards is:

I am the creator of my world, and I am never reliant on any specific person being that creator for me.

When I am my own creator, I will reject what is not good to me, and add into my experience more of who I already am.

In order to do this your focus has to come off the narcissist, and on to yourself so that you may heal from the illusions.


The Truth Always Sets You Free

I know this blog will create differing emotions for some of you.

It may provide relief, acceptance, and the understanding ‘That’s why. I’m not going mad!’

These people, especially those that are committed to working on, healing and recovering their deeper inner self, will see this as a way forward, because embracing the truth about ourself is the only true solution to healing.

Remember that it is the truth that always sets us free. It is being stuck in illusions that destroy us…

If you feel overwhelmed by what has occurred to you, and still don’t want to accept ‘it is not love’, or want to keep your intense focus for extended periods of time on what narcissists are, and why they do what they do, or you want to keep blaming the narcissist’s atrocious behaviour for how you feel now rather than focusing on and healing yourself, then you are not yet in the ‘zone’ of creating real healing and relief.

I hope you know it is my greatest mission to help bring you there.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this blog…


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Melanie Tonia Evans is an international narcissistic abuse recovery expert. She is an author, radio host, and founder of Quanta Freedom Healing and The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program. Melanie's healing and teaching methods have liberated thousands of people from the effects of narcissistic abuse world-wide.

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139 Thoughts on Trauma Bonding – Is It Love Or Something Else?
  • jennifer love
    April 23, 2012

    This was me. Absolutely. I fell head over heels, felt as though I was in heaven – beyond heaven, a blissful paradise
    I left a 20 year marriage with a kind and decent man to be with my Narc. I catapulted myself and my children into his world, and have had to force myself to work my way out of it.
    All that Melanie says is true – the terrible reality – and the redemption that can come when you final;y begin to accept and know what you must do.

    • Leah
      April 26, 2012

      Jennifer…..I’m crying as I write this, as I did the same. I left a marriage of 23 yrs, financial security and took my 3 daughters into another world where I was another person. Hell on earth is all I can say. I can’t believe such horrid people exist and I’vee worked my way free. The loneliness and thoughts that I have to deal with have almost taken me to the brink of suicide. Although my girls weren’t scarred, I just wish I could go back….I wish I’d just listened to my instincts. I have a terrible relationship with my mum where I’ve craved her love and acceptance and even when I’ve openly asked for her love and support, she is unable to give it. This has made me a better mum myself but I have a void inside of me as big as the world and don’t know how to fill it. Sometimes I wake in the night and wonder how I got here and who I am…..thoughts? Leah

      • Izzy
        July 26, 2012

        Wow…I had a long distance relationship with a Narc so I really wasn’t aware of his ‘traits’. He then moved to where I lived (I paid for all this!!!) and brought his ….girlfriend… that he had been living with, the whole time telling me she was a flatmate…so then I became ‘his lover’ which I hated…was introduced to her as a friend. She was/still is a mess but I think is a victim of “stockholm sydrome”. She told me about all his affairs, his lying, and emotional abuse…I asked her why she stayed with him if she was so unhappy, her response was that he is her soul mate and that they are meant to be together…lol…she then said that she knew I was one of his lovers..yikes..’one of his lovers!!’ :-0. But I too was addicted, thought I could show him the way, help him change his life, needed to be loved differently, so I went to work…Told him he only needed me, a normal person…I very nearly left my wonderful husband who, bless him, knew all about this person, and thought I just needed to get him out of my system. In 25 years of marriage I had never had an affair..frowned upon people who do…After 12 months of moving things had not changed, I was still the lover, s I started asking questions..big mistake..verbally abused big time..Well the short version..I listened to my gut, which was screaming at me by now..this ain’t right..I walked away numerous times but was lulled back..this time I ignored his txts and calls…and I am now recovering..what a fool I was but my love for him was so intense…but I was becoming like her and it scared me… thanks for listening..this site has helped me tremendously..Love and happiness to all. xx

      • Angie
        October 31, 2013

        Leah, I too, have @ most a superficial relationship with my mother. I am a survivor of an abusive childhood, abandoned by my parents & beaten by my 1st stepfather.I am confused, HURT & have NO idea of how to maintain a healthy relationship with ANYONE!

    • Orla
      July 31, 2013

      Hi Guys, i have just come across this Forum.. i have to say after months and months of feeling guilty and having lots of regreats. ( i had to leave a country to get away from my NARC) i finally have a name for what he is. A NARC. i just thought he was an alcoholic and i had driven him mad. I thought i had driven him to all the things he did to me. I am left with no friends and no life and he has just skipped off in to the sun set and carries on as if i never existed, living his life and having a ball with loads of friends. . I have been struggling so hard to come to terms with what “i had done” that i hated myself!! Everyone i used to know hates me and have sent me abusive messages on how selfish i am to have left him (he is loved by everyone) and noone believes me that there is another side to him. It is so hurtful. I am destroyed as a person and i am so glad i found this site. I am starting to see a glimmer of hope that i am not crazy!

  • sushmita
    April 23, 2012

    Not all of what I read applies to me but it’s good to know how the mind works etc. I pass a lot of nformation on to my friends who are not on e-mail. It’s an absolute eye-opener to all of us. Thanks again Melanie. Keep up the good work!

  • dan
    April 23, 2012

    Melanie, thanks for the insight into myself and my ex, so much rings true. I look forward to your e-mails

  • maureen
    April 23, 2012

    On reading the above ‘Is It Love or Something Else’, I don’t know if I was initially really in love with my boyfriend in our early was exciting in the early days. I thought I was. In time, after we started having kids, I began to feel there was something missing, He was emotionally unavailable & there was never any real intimacy, Intimacy from him was talking about ‘his job’ of which he is a skipper on boats, and he makes out he is so important. In our relationship he wants and needs to be in charge and seen to be in charge, one who makes all the decisions, in front of his friends, our kids and anyone else who happens to come around. He mostly wants total control of what gets done on our property, always big noting himself, and changing his mind after a decision is made, to pull the rug out from under me. He is often condesending towards me in front of others and rarely gives me any credit for anything that would take the limelight off himself. He always reacts as if he’s trying to stop me from controlling him so, he remains secretive and distant a lot of the time. He has never given me a compliment in our whole 30 years together I remember he said that ‘it’d only go to my head,so he never would’.
    Also we worked on properties, and I loved the outside farm work. He used to get very angry when I did as he called it ‘men’s work often saying ‘what are you doing men’s work for, what are you trying to prove.
    Luckly for our relationship he works away so I get a reprive from his control. Today I happened to fix a tennent’s hot water system, and I thought he’d be proud of me, instead he was so so angry. He’s away at the moment.
    Doing farmwork he would never work with me, instead it always had to be his way, if I stood up to him he would walk away and say ‘do it yourself then’, I was happy to compromise and work together, but he had to be in charge or be seen in charge.

    Melanie Is that all Narcissistic behaviour?

    My husband is also an alcoholic, has been for as long as I’ve known him although he denies that he is.


  • Janet Petrine
    April 23, 2012

    This and all the blogs are tremendously helpful. I have learned about the underlying reasons for my choices over the last eight years with my ex fiance/narcissist from reading Melanie’s blogs and other resources that speak the truth. Until we are willing to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives we are destined to live someone elses reality. Thank you Melanie for figuring it all out.

  • No more self denial.
    April 23, 2012

    Thank you for all these expressions!

    The Stockholm syndrom was my thing through my whole childhood, and in the role of the narcissist can here be said was my parents especially my father.
    I was the luckiest girl in the world, and my family was the best; that was what I believed, and what I said to people.
    Today, I still love my parents, but some people it is best loving from a distance.

  • Lynn
    April 23, 2012

    Thank you again for another great reading. Your insights and support have been invaluable to me. I let got of the narcissist in my life 6 months ago. I have had no contact with him at all until this weekend. He contacted me by email and told me how much he missed me and apologized for some of his behavior. I took it as a sign that he had come to his senses….wrong….I sent him an email telling him I missed him too and was interested in getting together so we could find some closure. The next email I got I was slammed and degraded. Wow…he got me again. Unbelievable. The only reason he contacted me was so he could reject me and I fell for it one more time. Those trauma bonds run deep. I thought I had let go of them but it took me out emotionally again. The good news is it was just for a day and I knew what to do to get myself and my connection to source back. A lot of that has to do with the things you have taught me and the Quantum Healing I experienced with you. Thank you so much for all of your work. I am eternally grateful for the insights you have given me.

  • Tamisha
    April 23, 2012

    This article really hit home for me and was really helpful. It’s only been almost a week but in this small amount of time as I reflect every word of it is the truth. My relationship of 2 yrs. was the most traumatizing experience I’ve ever had in my life and it really did feel as if this was the one, in fact I was so convinced I began making plans to move away with him but of course true to form the good times never lasted, his alter was always right around the corner ready to maim me at any moment. I grew up in a very loving family where marriages work for 40 plus years, my father is a pastor and I’d never ever seen are heard anyone talk to there wives are mistreat there girlfriends so for me to be treated this way was in my mind ludicrous but I couldn’t bring myself to leave because of what I thought I felt and I believed that we would be together forever. Eye opening for me.
    Thanks Melanie!!!

  • Shirley Blesnuk
    April 23, 2012

    Very good blog….sad that I had to fall in love with a man that destroyed me in more ways than one.

    • Connie Gehr
      June 5, 2012

      You don’t provide much insight as to what happened in your relationship. Can this blog assist you in moving on as you sound very hurt. Let us know how we can help. Others will see your reply and may have suggestions for you. I have been very hurt and I find it helpful to get others point of view.

  • Louise
    April 23, 2012

    Remember when we first became friends, you lived next door to me.
    You had so many broken relationships, so many problems, but we managed to laugh every night, all night. Remember how i fell in love with you, over that bottle of wine, we talked until the sun came up, for months on end. You left me then, broken hearted for a younger, more beautiful woman Two years later, I had a call from you. I lived in another state, you turned up there, you wined and dined me, told me how no one really understood you but me. You cut your arms, I took you to the hospital, you cut your wrists, I was there to comfort you. You told me that I was your best friend, you would die for me and my son. We went on holiday, we went on weekends away, I was the only true friend in your life. You called me 40 times a day and night. I don’t think I slept for 6 months, as my full time job was caring for you. I found you a home, I took you to doctors, I laughed and cried with you, and when you felt better, you moved on and told me I was a drain on your life. You didn’t answer my phone calls, you didn’t reply to my emails, you turned your back on me so fast my feet didn’t touch the ground.
    Beware of the narcassist, they will eat you alive and destroy you in a moment. You, the most important person in the universe will become a no-body, so fast there is no explaination. But, unfortunately there is one, you were dealing with a narcassist. You really didn’t exist, and their story didn’t exist either. A sad, sorry tale, best forgotten as fast as you can!

    • Sayre
      January 11, 2014

      Wow, nicely worded. Can relate A LOT. Same thing happened to me but without taking them to doctors, etc. They told me the same kinds of things but whenever I needed them or wanted to talk they disappeared. When I started calling them on this behavior things slowly deteriorated.

  • Jennifer R.
    April 23, 2012

    This has been such a blessing to find this site! I had no idea what had happened to me and why I still suffer to some degree. “My Narcissist” and I have a child together, complete half and half custody so I see him at least two times/ week and we’re forced into counseling by the courts. It continues to be a battle and, at times, I feel like I will never completely move on and accept how things are right now. I have truly grown sooo much since I’ve escaped from the “death relationship”. In that so called relationship, I was a living zombie and often prayed to die. This particular article explains why, regardless of knowing the severity of the encountered abuse, I still wonder from time to time “maybe he has really changed this time, maybe this is as good as it gets, we do have a child together, I’m either going to be alone forever or I can suck it up and go back to him.” Then I read your blogs and I realize this is all in my head, it’s an illusion and I deserve better! I’ll forever be linked to my narcissist due to our daughter, but never have to go through that again and I’m learning how to not allow my narcissist to rent so much space in my head. This whole site is making my quality of life better and better. Nice to know the psychology behind all this and know I’m not alone!…or crazy!

  • Grace
    April 23, 2012

    Thank you Melanie for the information. A lot of it is me… in fact, too much. It explains many things that I couldn’t make sense of, and neither have I been able to find anything close to it in books I’ve read on the subject. I knew that what I was living through was very unhealthy and abnormal but couldn’t understand the enemy so to speak. Typically, my whole focus has been on my narc husband… who incidentally denies he has any kind of psychological/behaviour problems and has always blamed me for causing his abuse etc. Typically, I accepted that it’s me… what a huge mistake! I worked so hard to get him to be ‘non abusive’ but at the same time I operated from a false belief that I deserved what I got. So, I would try harder and harder to please… co-dependancy!
    I recognise that I had no positive role model when growing up; my father was a violent alcoholic and my mother was narcissistic. Between the two of them, they set the stage for my codependent, abusive adult relationships. I knew nothing but abuse from day one and tragically it became the norm for me. Also, I did not know that I was being abused for most of my life.
    I have a lot of work to do regarding being assertive and taking care of my emotional and psychological needs, but something within has changed… something has shifted within my awareness, and I am now recognising the myriad of ways in which I’ve been abused. I am now standing up for myself and all the energy spent on trying to change Mr. Narc, I am now trying to divert into looking after myself better.
    Narcissism is an ugly, deceptively cruel monster that wrings the life out of it’s victims. So, thank you again Melanie for all the good work you’re doing. God Bless X

  • A.
    April 23, 2012

    I wanted to share that as I was discovering this website/blog with it’s plethora of helpful information, I also picked up the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of the sections of the book is about not taking anything personally. If someone says something cruel to you, it is about them, not about you. If someone says something flattering, it is still about them, not about you. It has been absolutely powerful in helping me disassociate myself from the words that go between abuse and “the hook”. I tell myself it doesn’t matter what he says, good or bad, it’s about him and what he is feeling, it is not about me. What a sense of relief! If someone loves you what they say does not matter, they will show you with their actions. Peace!

  • Kate
    April 23, 2012

    Hi Mel,

    Interesting read,some applies to me and some doesn’t. I have been thinking more on the lines of my attachment styles. Being very much the dissmive avoidant style, the attention, nurturing displayeded at times by my NP triggered my want of closeness, I hadn’t experienced by my care givers. I had many years ago discovered my parents didn’t love me, and that it was an illusion,but couldn’t help get sucked in by the allure of needing to feel loved. Although very aware this too was an illusion. The cylcle continues when your without a reference of what a secure attachment feels like.
    Thanks your work, I’m an avid listener and greatful you have the tools, knowledge and generosity to share it.

  • Jennifer
    April 24, 2012

    Melanie, I am 8 months out of my narc relationship, but all the emotions you describe are exactly how I was…to a T. Though I am feeling so much better and have taken back my power, just in reading this, I became nauseated and could feel incredible anxiety wash over me. I wonder if these symptoms ever go away for good? Thank you for all that you do. You have helped me more than words can say. XO

    April 24, 2012


    • Tired
      April 24, 2012

      My narc is in prison now and will be getting out soon. He contacts me because I let him and am afraid to let him go. What if he finds someone else and has the happy life I wanted with him? What if I can’t let him go? Since he has been gone, I have been able to heal but still feel that attachment or control he has over me! I want so bad to walk away!

      • Mary
        April 25, 2012

        I feel I suffer from all of the Syndromes & can relate to almost all of what the other women have experienced. maybe there is light at the end of this tunnel – How do I break free?

      • Anna
        July 20, 2012

        Walk away! Mine was in prison for 2 and half years. I took care of his businesses, his kids, his mother. Sweetest man on earth during that time. He came home and stomped on me and our kids. I sticked it out another 12 years, waiting for that sweet guy to come back. He needs to ajust again, needs to ease back into the family, blablabla…I thought of every excuse in the book. Went through hell and back. They hate you for helping them during that time, for not walking out on them. Oh, and NEVER EVER bring up how tough it was for you and your kids when he was in prison or else. Walk away!

      • so much smarter now
        August 6, 2015

        dear tired
        please find the strength to not let him back in. you can do it one minute at a time. realize how fortunate you are that you had the time away from him. break off contact with him… you are worth so much more than the abuse he intends to inflict upon you…please don’t walk but run……. he will destroy you

    • Julie
      July 25, 2013

      Beautifully written. Inspiring. Thank you.

    • Angie
      November 1, 2013

      Physically Free: Thank you for writing about your experience,strength & hope while dealing with your Narc. I just found this site. WOW, talk about a “Wake-up call”! Quite a rude awakening @ that! & to think I thought I was the problem…This was his projected illusion!! I, too, grew up in a HIGHLY abusive home, emotionally abandoned by my mom.. my dad was out chasing women. Mom re-married an alcoholic who HATED ME! This poor excuse of a human being tried to break my spirit… found he couldn’t so he broke my back! Mom never even tried to help me back then or even NOW!

  • Jackie Jeffery
    April 24, 2012

    It’s been 18 months since I divorced my narcissist. I’m still healing my thought systems, and part of that healing comes thru articles like this. I keep learning new things that help me; there was a lot that resonated as “me” in this today. Like all of us, my story is long, detailed, and plenty painful (complicated by the brainwashing he has successfully used to alienate our children from me)… But, every day I learn more and get stronger; I am determined to make my life purposeful, happy, and genuine. Thank you very much for your work. It is a light in the darkness, and helps guide me back to sanity.

  • christine
    April 24, 2012

    I love the referral of “prisoner and persecutor” true..
    He did become “My God”, my savior. The last message I sent to him, (after the message, he heartlessly told me he was done with me…at which time i found Melanie and the healing NARC Program) I actually proclaimed to him that he was in fact my God and I had, from that point, chosen to follow him all the days of my life..i believed he was the blood that I needed to run through my veins to survive…I told him that his words or whatever he spoke, i would hold as truth…Thank you Melanie for the article..YOUR WORDS ALWAYS BRING PEACE AND COMFORT TO MY MIND AND HEART.

  • Sandi
    April 24, 2012

    Hi Melanie. I met my husband online in 2009 and 9 months later we were married on a beach in Maui, HI. It felt like I had finally found my soul mate, the one I had hoped and longed for my whole life. He told me the same, in fact before I verbalized any of it myself. It was the second marriage for both of us, our children grown. He told me over and over things like”God could not have made a more perfect woman for him than me,” and how “I have no doubt that I’ll be spending the rest of my life with you,” to name a few positive comments. I felt so sure of this mans love for me. He bought me expensive gits, put a wring on his wedding finger within the first month of us dating, and proposed to me 2 mos after we met. We were inseperable and I had never felt so loved in all my life. Finally, I thought. Someone who really gets me and good, bad or ugly still loves me. 6 mos into the marriage, things began to change and decline. For one year now I have been trying to hold this marriage together I feel like myself, walking on egg shells, enduring his neglect, ignoring me, and criticizing me. He began working out of town in April 2011 only coming home on the weekends, then every other weekend. Now, he has taken a new job in So. Ca and I live in No. Ca 8 hours away. 10 days ago I was driving down south to spend the weekend with him and he called on Friday night and cancelled. We have not spoken since. I finally got to the point where I feel so unloved by this man that I have taken a step backwards. However, today there is an email from him that I am afraid to open. I am still afraid of ending our marriage and going on in life without him.

  • Lilly
    April 24, 2012

    I am so happy I read this. You have literally word for word described some of my most painful and humiliating experiences with my ex narc. I can say is it is a wonderful thing you are doing to help people and thank you for that!

  • Carol
    April 24, 2012

    So insightful. I wish I’d read this 5 yrs ago, but maybe I wouldn’t have “gotten” it so well then. I read slowly and took notes and will re-read the notes. It gave me insight into why I am still with him. I appreciate the affirmations: “I am the creator of my world,…” etc. A lot is beginning to sink in. Thank you to all those who shared their responses.

  • Adaku
    April 24, 2012

    blessings Melanie thank you Your blog always gets me right when i need it.You wonder why? is this taking so long to forgive and let go of the things hes done.Its so true not to focus on what and why and etc of him.The FOCUS is me taking charge of who I am,even though I have improved and love my life.I still hear his crtitical voice not all the time but when im really excelling, that im not good enough,,hes better than I am I actually thought this.I recover fast and just say shut up ! out loud sometimes LOL.So thanks so much you have helped me get thru this PEACE.Adaku…

  • Leela Leah
    April 24, 2012

    Thank you :) Thank you :) Thank you :)

  • Tiina
    April 24, 2012

    Melanie, like all these amazing women, I have been attached to my narc for four years. I have been on a journey of mindfulness for the last 15 months and I am now strong enough to break the ties that have kept me in this abusive relationship. The carrot for me has been marriage, the elusive proposal, which has been causing so much tension this year. So many empty promises and broken commitments. Today he finally came clean and told me that he is not in the right mind space for marriage, which is devastating to come to terms with after what I’ve been through. I believed that he loved me as much as I loved him, but it was all empty words with him shifting goal posts to keep me trying to prove my worthiness and commitment to him. Through the help of these emails, I have realised that he is not worthy of the privilege of my commitment to him and his children. I am finally breaking the ties that have kept me hooked in this horrific cycle of abuse. I know there are hard times ahead but I am honoring myself. I know I am deserving of better. I hope your articles can reach other women who are stuck in an abusive cycle, knowing that it would be better for them to break away, but feeling stuck for whatever reason. Keep up your great work Melanie.

  • Lisa Grove
    April 25, 2012

    If the narcissist attends to your needs, apologises and acts like he or she has reformed, you feel incredible relief and that you have been removed from the war-zone. Yet, when the narcissist leaves the scene and is no longer reassuring you, you suffer severe separation anxiety that can feel akin to a heroin addict deprived of the next fix.
    The above paragraph is so totally what I go through on a day to day basis.
    I know my relationship is bad for me and bad for my daughter. He recently sent his 17 yo son back to live with his mom because he couldn’t handle his son having an opinion contrary to his. I spend all my time trying to make him happy and when I am with him its good but when I am not all the doubts and the knowing I need to leave surface. This sucks because I know what I need to do I just can’t seem to do it.

  • Grace
    April 25, 2012

    This is my second posting…

    After reading all the postings I began to realise that we are all dealing with basically the same issues. We have all been victimised by a narcissist and are trying to re-claim our lives and sense of self once more.

    I want to say thank you to all of you who have posted your experiences of which your stories, though unique to you, are also woven into the tapestry of all our lives. Thank you for sharing… I take heart and draw strength from knowing that I am not alone in my struggle.

    I honour all of you! Grace.

    • Beth
      May 8, 2015

      I had a 3 year relationship with a sociopath/psychopath. It has been the most harrowing experience of my life. During our relationship I tried to leave countless times, starting just 8 months in, but he is extremely skilled at manipulating not only women, but men as well. He has 10 children with 10 different mothers. He hasn’t worked his entire adult life, except on the black market in various different capacities. He is an extremely cold & calculated man, & when he was violent, it was goal oriented, not frenzied or out of control. He is a horrible & vicious criminal if he must be to get what he wants. In January of 2014, I begged his incarcerated brother to talk him into leaving me be, & 2 days later he raped me. I wasn’t drunk, or drugged, I tried to fight & get away, but he weighs twice what I do, & I could not stop him. He kidnapped me in July of 2013. He held me by my hair when I opened the door of the moving car to try & jump out. He told me “pissed yourself right in that seat” when I told him I had to go to the bathroom. He wouldn’t stop for lights or stop signs, he stopped for nothing until we were far out in the country…& he finally stopped & let me relieve myself on the side of the road. I tripped in the dark, & he ran over to me with so much “concern” to make sure I was ok. I remember feeling a flood of comfort when he did that. He kidnapped me. Held me by my hair, pinned me down, ripped my clothing off of me, threatened me, screamed at me, terrified me for hours, but I was relieved when he showed the tiniest concern. I never reported the kidnapping. I reported the rape. The district attorney didn’t prosecute because of “the tumultuous nature of the relationship”. He raped me again in March of 2014. I thought I was going to die. Nobody cared. Nobody was going to help me. I got pregnant that day. I filed a restraining order. I went back to him last August. Nothing had changed. I began to read about psychopathy. I started to understand what was happening. I tried to end it again, he was cruel to me daily. I told my best friend that my kids were better off without me. He wouldn’t go away, & I called the police again. He was convicted of criminal contempt, twice. I see him several times a week in my community. I go to therapy weekly, & group therapy weekly as well. My life is peaceful, albeit still painful. I still want to reach out to him sometimes. It is horrifically painful to see him, & he capitalizes on every opportunity to terrorize me without crossing the line. He has engaged in a horrible smear campaign against me. He told so many people my secrets, & I’m humiliated on top of so much else. As painful as this has been, it is nothing in comparison to the pain I felt when I was with him. I wanted to die to relieve myself of the pain. I struggle, but I am recovering. I hope & pray for each person who has suffered at the hands of this type of person. It will get better. I have no idea if it ever goes away, but it does get better.

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Jennifer,

    thank you for sharing….

    Yes for many of us it was this whirlwind experience.

    It’s great that you’ve been working at coming to acceptance, and moving forward!

    Keep going – the Truth does set us free.

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Sushmita and Dan,

    you are more than welcome, and I am so glad that my material assists you!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Maureen,

    his behaviour does sound very controlling and self-absorbed if not NPD – which is hard to evaluate without knowing more.

    Have you been to my artciles to look at the list of characteristics to define?

    It is clear that you are not having your needs met, or being considered in the relationship healthily. Which brings you to the place of What to do?

    Really there are two options, lay firm boundaries that do state you needs, and grant him the opportunity to step up.

    If he is not interested in doing so, and / or is not interested in working on the relationship with counsellors etc. then truly it will either stay the same, or you need to leave to create a better experience for yourself.

    If he is NPD this won’t work – and therefore you will either have to ‘put up with it’ or leave.

    I wish you all the best, and please know you do deserve respect, love and consideration.

    Mel xx

    • Lou
      October 20, 2013

      I’ve been thinking my partner may be this but he is getting help his past issues. He says he’s open to getting assessed by a psychiatrist if I think he needs it but I’m a bit confused how you said setting boundaries and suggesting counseling won’t work if they’re npd. How do people get diagnosed if not this way sometimes? There are groups on Facebook for people who are diagnosed so I am thinking its diagnosable if they see at all that what they’re doing isn’t ok. I’m a bit concerned about my partners approach that ‘if I think he needs it he’ll go’ as it doesn’t acknowledge what’s happening is not ok. I don’t know if I should be grateful or if he’d even be honest. We both have trauma in our pasts and I have cptsd. So were a … Tricky bunch. I resonate with lots of what you say except he has low self esteem so I probably need to read more. He’s actually say down with me one day while we went through the criteria and realised he did have almost all of them – after initial reactions of ‘that’s not me’ but when I explained it he did get it. I’m in the oryxes of doing what you said – setting clear boundaries and asking for counseling and were doing it by email as we can’t get there verbally. Every fight is somehow my fault as I misinterpret something or ‘don’t let him talk’ when I’m actually trying to finish my bit without him telling me why I’m wrong… I was desperate to have feelings acknowledged that were a big deal and he just wanted to tell me why I was wrong. Which I wasn’t… I won’t go in but I’m pretty confused. Thanks for the page. Will read more. Am interested in your thoughts on that question and whether I should be glad he’s open to seeing someone. He already said re couple counseling that he has concerns but I think it’s a must…

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Janet,

    you are very welcome!

    What is great is that YOU are figuring it out! Great job!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi N M S D,

    that is fabulous that your facing and leaning the truth and embracing it for yourself.

    You are so true, it doesn’t matter who it is in our life, we have a responsibility to ourself to choose who is or isn’t healthy for us….

    Great luck on your ‘journey of self’.

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Lynn,

    how fantastic that you have the tools and awareness to ‘shift’ yourself back to empowerment quickly.

    It makes such a difference….

    And it’s great that every time we do that, we just get stronger and stronger.

    Keep it up, stay clear and take care!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Tamisha, Shirley and Louise,

    It is great that you have been able to access information that helps you understand the Truth.

    In the early days, it is painful and I can see with all of you that you are working through this stage now.

    I cannot recommend enough that you to, and listen to my latest radio show, as it really will help you release a lot of pain in your mission to walk forward as a more empowered ‘self.

    Here is the link:

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Jennifer R.

    Thank you for your sharing.

    Stay clear, keep coming back to the Truth, and also when you work at healing your unhealed parts – you will find that you jusy get stronger and stronger, and you will leave the narc behind in your rear-view mirror.

    It’s great that you haven’t given in to the ‘illusions’ and gone back!

    Keep walking forward!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Grace,

    fabulous that you have been able to come to great self-realisations, and how the pieces of the puzzle go together.

    When we do ‘come home’ in recovery we do realise that the ‘monsters’ have in fact handed us the make or break opportunity to do the work on becoming empowered, honouring, loving and respecting ourself. And without them we may have never made that a priority in our life.

    This is the stage of acceptance and gratitude, and from that place we will never need to undergo narcissistic abuse again….

    Make ‘that’ you mission.

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi A,

    I haven’t read the book – but have now put it on my ‘to read’ list.

    Thank you so much for sharing another wonderful resource on this blog..

    Yes learning how NOT to personalise, and how to detach is VITAL!

    Keep up the great work!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Kate,

    Yes the journey of love, and getting intimacy and connection right as a healthy giving person with another healthy individual is a quest for many people who have not experienced healthy intimacy as children.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Jennifer,

    I can totally relate to how you feel – until we ‘get there’ we wonder if we will every fully recover, or if the pain will ever stop.

    Jennifer I really encourage you to look at Energetic solutions. In order to understand them more, why they work so well, and how they work – please listen to my latest radio show.

    Honour yourself with 90 minutes of quiet time, get a pen and paper and go through the processes – and then you will understand.

    Yes, you can get clear of the pain – and up into a much higher ‘frequency’. I promise!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi P F N,

    Thank you for sharing your incredible story of survival with us.

    From where you have been to where you have come to is amazing, and you have done such a great job of working towards acceptance and healing..

    Thank you for your courage and heart,

    Bless you dear soul

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Tired on,

    I know you have stated that you have been able to heal, but the truth is because of feelings of attachment or if he moves mean – point blank – you still have work to do on you.

    Please rest assured narcs dont go on to create happy relationships with others – they all run to the same formula – idealising, cracks appear, partner gets pushed away, or devalue and discard.

    What is important is you, healing you, so that you can break free from these attachments that are keeping you stuck.And that comes about by working deeply on your unhealed parts that are keeping you attached.

    Please, as I have suggested earlier go to this Radio Show so that you can unbderstand how you can do that

    I would also strongly suggest that you check out the Narc Abuse Recovery Program.

    Good luck – and know you deserve safe and healthy love.

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Mary,

    yes there IS light at the end of the tunnel – TRULY!

    In answer to your question, please see my post above!

    Good luck and know there are solutions to get you out the other side..

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Jackie,

    it is wonderful that you are determined to heal – and are walking on that Path every day.

    That intention and effort will always create the result!

    Well done!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Christine,

    You are very welcome, and it’s wonderful that you have NARP and are determined to create your True Self!

    Bless, and thank you for sharing!

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Sandi,

    truly I feel for you. Your situation regarding the ‘love’ and quick marraige and ‘the man of your dreams’ is so similiar to my story (and many others).

    The truth is my love, that if you do hang on that inevitably the cracks are going to get bigger and bigger until eventually a bomb drops that will send you reeling – with no option other than to get out…

    The question is: What state will you be in when that happens?

    Sandi my strongest suggestion is that you get on to healing and empowering you, so that you can get clear, deal with this and be able to honour you. Please check out the RADIO SHOW healing and investigate the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program.

    You really do have to help yourself asap…

    Hugs and love, because what you are going through is really tough…

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Lilly,

    I am so pleased that you are pleased!

    You are very welcome :)

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Carol,

    I am so glad that this has resonated with you.

    I hope it grants you what you need to honour you.

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Adaku,

    It is great that you’re getting clear and taking responsibility to break free!

    You are more than welcome, and keep it up, and I’ll continue to be here and hold your hand on this journey :)

    Mel xx

  • Melanie Tonia Evans
    April 26, 2012

    Hi Leela,

    thank YOU for your gorgeous Thank Yous!

    Mel xx

    April 26, 2012

    Hi Melanie

    Thank you for writing this. It was challenging and really explains the addiction really well. I left my husband two years ago and went into a refuge and now live in a flat with my daughter. I am still living under the illusion and I know this in my heart of hearts, but I also keep thinking he is making an effort to change – drug rehab – abusive men’s course etc. However, he still has the ability to string me along and although I am starting to create boundaries, I still keep getting sucked in again. But thanks to your material I am beginning to ‘get it’, I think!!


  • Leah
    April 26, 2012

    So do they go on to a fulfilling relationship after ‘us”? Makes me sick to think of him with someone else happy and content all the while still blaming me for his craziness. My heart is broken……

    • Margie
      April 26, 2012

      Dear Leah, I hope this helps. I know they are not capable of a “fulfilling relationship” One of my narc’s ex wives (he has 2 plus a couple of defactos) told me that when she met me she thought he had finally met his match and that she believed I would be the one to live happily ever after with him. One night at a party during the honey moon period a girl came up to us and I quote said ” You two are the most sensational couple together, I have been watching you all night. How lucky are you two” I was meant to be the love of his life and I know now that it wont matter who he meets it will always end up the same. On the surface he will do his best to make it appear he is so happy, content and in love. But they are who they are and they will not treat anyone else any differently to the way they treated us. They dont know how to. The honeymoon is the lie.. the nightmare we lived after that is the truth/reality. Someone may stay with him, but live “happily ever after” I doubt it. I am good friends with my narcs ex wife and let me tell you she described my life with him to a T! All as she did was tell me about her time with him. It was a mirror image. Only difference was she was smarter than me as she didnt stay as long. I just kept trying to get back what it started off as and cost myself many valuable years of my life. They certainly wern’t happy or content. I had no idea what I was dealing with or why until I came accross Melanies life saving site.

    • Grace
      April 28, 2012

      Dear Leah,

      He won’t be happy and content with anyone else no matter who it is. Don’t forget that narcissism is a phsycological disorder… they never get better; how can they? Narcissists go through their whole lives believing that it is always the other person’s fault. On the surface it may seem that he is happy… I’ll bet that won’t last once the ugly side of his personality show it’s face; eventually it will.
      Take heart Leah and remember that you are the most important person in your life now. Be kind and compassionate to yourself and allow yourself to heal from the awful experiences of living with narcissism. We are all on the same journey but at different stages.

      Take good care of yourself. Grace X

  • Lawrie
    April 27, 2012

    Your website has been one of my most valuable tools during my journey away from my husband. I loved him very much and because I had no idea what narcissim was, I didn’t realize how far embedded I was in his web of lies, manipulation and control. It’s been 13 months since my world came crashing down, after the discovery of many revealing emails and an assault on me by him. I wont get into the detail, because many of the stories are so tragically similiar. I will say that it has taken me this long to really accept how awful my situation was. Thank you for your site and to all the women writing in.

  • Edith
    April 27, 2012

    My narcissist died, so I have learnt how to face him going. not from a point of strength, but from a point of absence. I find it hard every day as I feel unloveable and unloved. But thank you for making me realise that I am not the only one:)

  • tracy jackson
    May 9, 2012

    I have lived this relationship over and over again.
    I have been told by therapists that I am ‘trading in my Mother for every new man’ and it’s true – She has extreme NPD thus I am in repetition compulsion totally.
    It does not change and you have to be like a recovering alcoholic and monitor yourself constantly not to fall for another one. At least – that has been my life experience. I wonder on your take on Mothers causing this jam with lovers in later life

  • Lucita
    May 28, 2012

    Every word, every sentence so precise in describing what I have experienced and so many other women and men have experienced.

    For me, the narcissistic relationship I experienced…the man I loved, was true love.
    It was the narcissistic traits we both learned from our mothers…that kept that true love from being center stage…it was replaced with triggering fear, hatred, disrespect = not real love…which pushed me to put distance between us to escape the pain.
    I can understand now the inability to stop thinking about him and intense attachment to him plus the true love that connected us made my scene that much more heart breaking.

    Separating the illusions from real love
    is the challenge and moments of shocking awakening. Reading Melanie’s post, another piece is revealed…my love is past and yet the illusion..part of me still waiting for his support.

    Also in healing work;
    Since I do body work with essential oils you gave me more info to approach emotional healing. Seeing the emotions of fear as addictive and how the triggers keep feeding this addiction is very valuable. I understand
    the physiology of sugar addictions and now can apply that with narcissistic relationship.

    THANK YOU MELANIE it is just incredible the service you offer all of us.

  • Celine
    May 28, 2012

    I am so deeply grateful for your work Melanie and also for other women’s sharing. I can absolutely relate to all and all that is shared. My N. relationship lasted 6,5 years and I had had a close relationship as both a student and a colleague with him for over 4 years prior to the relationship began. I was so so blind but I did have intuitions that I disregarded. He was so clever! And as someone who is known, acknowledged and appreciated as a ” spiritual teacher”

  • Celine
    May 28, 2012

    I am so deeply grateful for your work Melanie and also for other women’s sharing. I can absolutely relate to all and all that is shared. My N. relationship lasted 6,5 years and I had had a close relationship as both a student and a colleague with him for over 4 years prior to the relationship began. I was so so blind but I did have intuitions that I disregarded. He was so clever! And as someone who is known, acknowledged and appreciated as a successful ” spiritual teacher”, I believed him and hanged in there for what I though was the best relationship ever! I believe the spiritual reasons he gave me and I played the card of the perfect devoted woman. Ha!! What a lesson! Thanks God life has pulled the rug under, my feet so I could wake up. The deep pain is still there but am working on my healing and on rebuilding a truer life. Thank you to all women who go through this, our soul is growing and with it, the world will become truer too. We are all connected in this. I send you all my love. Thank you again Melanie, without you I don’t know how I’d be now. Celine

  • Dianne Murray
    June 3, 2012

    I am a 64 year old woman who has been married 41 years, raised and educated two children and am a grandmother. I was raised in a verbally and physically abusive home with a sexually dysfunctional father with a mental illness, but still functional. I wasn’t aware until years later what a hell we had been raised in. There were 3 children. My mother was totally unable to cope so was either fighting my father or in denial. I obtained a degree from the local university and married and had a famly. My husband also came from a dysfunctional family which included a lot of alcohol consumption. My own children emerged affected but I saw a pshychiatrist for most of my married life. I had a clinical depression and went into therapy. I did my best to not repeat my parents mistakes. I met this narciscistic man on holiday. It has taken me two years to come to the full realization of the situation I am in. Everything I have read including the patholigical lies, transfer his mistakes and weaknesses onto me, maintain a glowing reputation of himself by creating horrendous stories about my behaviour to others, creating verbal confusion when questioned by me, practising unsafe sex with others, no conscience, become whomever he thought I wanted him to be but couldn’t sustain it, etc. The worse thing of all was I believed he loved me so much that he wanted us to have a future. He insisted I tell my family and husband. I went against my better judgement and did. He walked out s month later. He knows exactly who to prey upon. He looks for older, vulnerable women and sucks the life from them. I was in physical, emotional pain for two years. I too felt I would rather be dead than be without him. I pursued him. He became more emotionally outrageously abusive and I accepted it all. Anything to just be in his company. When we were apart I felt I wasn’t living. When I gained enough strength to resist him he came onto me with everything he had until I was under his control again. I now see I have read enough about his condition, but I have to turn my thoughts away from him and look after and learn to respect and love myself. His behaviour is not only immoral, but is it not illegal? Is there nothing in law in place to stop these people? I will survive and be whole, but what of the other unsuspecting individuals who are out there. Interestingly enough he kept telling me of not only woman, but men who were pursuing him. He kept querying if I thought he was gay? Sounds pretty classic textbook narcisistic to me. Should there not be a published list of these people the same as sex offenders. DJM

  • click here
    June 3, 2012

    You need to really moderate the remarks at this site

  • Michelle
    June 9, 2012

    I was only with a narcissist for 7 weeks…yes weeks! and I knew something was “off/not right” from day one, but it seemed so “right” somehow. I am an intelligent, independent and financial secure woman that never thought this could happen to me. Well it certainly can and did. It took spending almost everyday with this man for me to finally confront the red flags and I know i was so completely right to face it and end it before it became what others have described on this and many other sites. I didn’t know much about NPD until I investigated into my suspicions about this man. Even after I ended this very brief relationship, I felt psychologically damamged. Far, far worse than any other breakup. I now realize exactly why. Thankfully, i resisted the urges to reach out to him and he has left me alone so far…I am probably a threat to him now or just not an easy enough target, so on to the next for him. What a horror for so many other woman, who I feel deeply for and pray they survive and get out. I have a close friend in a 20yr Narc marriage and find this information so valuable to help my friend find the strength to leave. She has been in therapy for over 10 years working on it! God Bless all of you lovely souls and hope you find the happiness you all deserve so much! I KNOW given all I have learned recently, that I will never allow a soul-sucking, heartless monster into my life every again. I can understand how it could be the death of someone. You all deserve real and true love,compassion and respect.

    • jenna
      July 4, 2013

      Exact same story for me too! 7 weeks, i called him on some red flags and he disappeared completely! Seriously damaged me… luckily he was a diagnosed N and admitted it to me so i had something to google afterward. Im still reeling from the total disappearance!d

  • Jac
    June 13, 2012

    Great Article and when I thought I had it under control, moved on from my ex partner, no contact for 3 months, separated for 6 months, feeling stronger than ever, not even thinking about him, I felt literally panicked as he popped up on FB last night after he said he would never use it again. It was to like my FB page. As Mel said, they are so unpredicatable! I had a horrible rush when I saw hus friends list, seeing many women he had never mentioned in the four years we were together. Truely horrible feelings consumed me. I am lucky in one way, he has never harrassed me or tried to find me, but does send strange obsessive emails with songs attached and how he still loves me deeply. His version of love being as deep as a 12 year olds.
    My next step is Quanta Freedom Healing tonight as I now know I have all the symptoms of Trauma Bonding, thinking time had healed all of it. Not the case.
    I will be so releaved to be free if this awful drug addiction and feel free.
    Jac x

  • Jac
    June 13, 2012

    Time does not heal this, only work on yourself will, so true. X

  • Luann
    July 14, 2012

    Can the isolating be ’caused’ by the narc subconsciously???

    I’m not sure that he’s a full blown and I realize that’s not the important thing. He showed plenty of traits and the “relationship” was an absolute disaster.

    However, he did encourage me to do things, with family, friends, or even alone. I even know he wanted me to work and be an independent woman.

    However, I did become paralyzed,at some point in the relationship and very depressed, not wanting to do anything, seemingly waiting for him to be available to me, either to see or talk on the phone. It was all I focused on.

    When I did get together with friends though or even family, I felt sort of like I didn’t belong there. Now that being said, I have felt that with my family for as long as I can remember, but my friends no. I have always felt like I belonged. But when I was seeing him and even now that it’s over, I don’t feel like I belong anywhere.

    I am thinking this is inside of me and not his doing at all. I remember feeling ashamed of even seeing him in the first place. Since he was still married, living with his mom, having a horrendous time financially, I felt sort of embarrassed really.

    Although my own financial life sucked. I had suffered a back injury and was in a lot of pain for a long time and that limited my options. But really I know it was the depression and the fear of breaking down on the job that kept me from working.

    The whole situation never felt right. I know I was/am addicted. Too bad knowing that intellectually doesn’t fix us all up emotionally.

  • veronica
    July 22, 2012

    Can any one share their story of their N breaking up by using the silent treatment or just simple ceasing all communication with no warning ? I was engaged , he got mad at , left me groveling for 2 months trying to contact him. He would never respond back . I’m on now starting to heal . It’s been shocking and so ,so hard to believe.
    Thank you , Veronica

    • iamawakenow
      July 24, 2012

      Hi Veronica,
      That happened to me and it was devastating. We “dated’ for 8 months. It ended only for him to beg me back with promises. Spent a couple of weeks back “together” and the night before my birthday he took me to his parents house for a party and paraded me around like I was his girlfriend. He calls the next morning to tell me his family did not like me (they obviously did). He comes to my birthday party that night, flirts inappropriately with my girlfriend, I call him on it, he tells her (not me – wouldn’t speak to me) he cant give me what I want in a relationship, sneaks off never to be heard from since. It has been a month. He is friends with my neighbor and she will not speak to me either. I look like the cray one. Ugh. Complete disvalue and dump. He only pursued me back so he could reject me. Do not go back to this man. He will come back for you with promises. They all do.

    • Lula Bell
      March 28, 2013

      That happened to me. I made a comment that he did not like. He cut off all communication and did the silent treatment. He also did this throughout the time we were together. It was deafening and painful and left me guessing what i did wrong and apologizing 10 times per minute. It was sure awful. I am getting on with life and glad he is gone forever. Who needs love when a heart can be broken?

  • prue
    July 22, 2012

    Hi Veronica
    I have been in a kind of relationship with a narcissist for many years. As soon as I suggested a more committed relationship he would cut me off for weeks, months even years. This was very difficult because we worked together! I had assumed we had broken up was miserable and bewildered. Tried to move on but hard because of work. He came back in unresolved way. Failed to mention that physical intimacy and his apparent undivided attention were major hooks. No past positive experiences. No modelling about relationships. Was a carer to elderly mother during this time. So his attention seemed important. Going outs, cuddles and very enjoyable sex. But the pain and confusion about being cut off nearly led to me driving into a tree! I needed to bring my full consciousness into holding wheel straight. Apart from this pain, lack of a real relationship and a strange dislkie by a coworker who was his friend, I thought I was blessed! Until the last bewildering cut off when he interrogated and mocked me about my feelings for him. When i returned to declare my genuineness I was met with silence and then the cut off. A few weeks later, realising my addictive tendencies at last I worked on letting go. I was like a massive detox. A few weeks later I confronted the pleasant colleague. To cut a very long story short we compared notes and found that Mr charming narc. had been sucking us both in, in different ways. Both of us had physical intimacy as the original hook. Both of us had a feeling of devotion towards him. Both of us had emotional disturbances around his treatment of us. Both had been lied to about the significance of his relationship with the other. He had been putting his positive effects on our lives on a pedastal, considering us both needy for what he could give. He had no care about the false and unreal situation and strong and unpleasant emotions and how twisted inside we both felt knowing we were party to something we didn’t concur with. When he cut off from one of us he was ensured of devotion from the other, and at work as well! So long story, but being cut off yet leaving the possibility of the connection continuing to at least resolve the confusion may be a strategy – treat them mean and keep them keen! Unfortunately, the good boy, helpful and caring worker had me foooled and I couldn’t see past the fantasy until my world crumbled in. bY THE WAY, WHEN i CONFRONTED hime with his connection with her, he said I was paranoid and delusional and threatened to call the police. When I held my ground and confirmed my suspicions, he changed tack, claiming he was a fabulous friend and feeding me a strange version of what had transpired during our last personal contact (and much more). Still in post traumatic shock, and confused about how to work with him seeing hime charm colleagues,

    The extent of my anger is just starting to be able to be dealt with. What next? Leave work? Who knows. Makes it harder to heal.

    All the best with dealingthe crappiness of how you were treated. Not being able to resolve anything is mad-making.


  • kenn D Main
    July 23, 2012

    Hi all ,i wish id read this yesterday. today i felt like i was insane. its been twelve months with out speaking to my ex. i have just set foot into a new relationship when at a cafe for lunch the ex was there with friends. I had a melt down. Panic and fear attacked me. I wanted her back immediatly. And i knew i couldnt face it. I was insane. Now i see that the result is as you have described above and those peptides kicked in. I sat it out but i retreted into myself .I felt like i wanted the floor to open and swallow me . yes i thought love was at play but it was obsession. I knew that it was and today i have lived in caos. I found this article when i got home . Thank got it was here. I am not insane just dealing with this obsession. OMG i feel so pathetic.Im so glad i found this blog. K

    • Bill
      July 14, 2013

      We are a minority here most Narcs are male.
      I can sympathize with you, I am getting out of a 22 year marriage and I am as fragile as a “shell shocked” war veteran
      I have yet to confront the Narc in public and dread the thought of that.
      Still have to stand in court to divorce Narc, so I know in the not too distant future I’ll have to suffer.
      Try this program it seems to give some relief and the promise of healing.
      Good luck.

  • Linda Palmer
    September 19, 2012

    Hi. After 8 years of marriage, I have moved away from the narc.Been away 4weeks and on advice of counsellors and GP have been advised to not return until narc agrees to go to counselling which he has.He is moody,rages,abusive emotionally and verbally,has big boy toys,keeps me sleep deprived and mentally drained.Am I kidding myself that a counsellor can get through to him.He cried to our friends when I left.Manipulation??

  • Chloe
    October 11, 2012

    Brilliant! This really hit home for me, thank you

  • GFL
    October 28, 2012

    I am still recovering and its bloody tough. I put my marriage, my kids on line for this NC. I lost my self esteem, my friends, tried committing suicide multiple times…i cant tell you how i destroyed my life for someone i thought was the reason for my existence. And he never once made me feel good about myself and i believed i was to be blamed for everything. Yet i clinged on to him…his acceptance meant the world to me and it came and went as soon as i started feeling better. I would be left crying for hours at a stretch while he kept abusing me with his words and accusations. He kept telling me that i could not be trusted and even if i died trying i dont think he would ever trust me either. He was jealous and possessive, he was irrational and cruel and yet he was so charming and intelligent and made it sound like everything was for my own good and recovery when it only crippled me more and more…i am on anti depressents since 2 years now and still suicidal. We have been separated for a year and then 2 weeks ago he makes an appearance out of the blue and meets me for 3 consecutive days all the while blaming me again and saying how i killed the relationship through my lies and how he wants me to heal and i should tell him the truth about my past now….and then he disappears again ….and he threatens me that he has kept copies of all our emails of 3 years and he wont hesitate to use it against me …and then he cries and goes on and on as to how much he loves me and how i ruined it all….i summoned the courage and shared this with my husband but i am petrified. I am in utter disbelief and shock …i know its impossible for anyone who loves you to do such things yet a part of me refuses to believe that he did not love me …your website link was shared by a friend and i cant tell u how i can completely relate to what everyone here has felt …and i cant thank you enough for sharing your articles and insights with us…i am finally able to understand my own co-dependency and take responsibility for loving myself for whatever i am…i am not a bad person and i need to believe it no matter what

  • Mellianna
    November 1, 2012

    Shew. I think I dodged a very dangerous bullet! I have never read an article so clear on the subject of traumatic bonding and, believe me, I’ve read LOTS on the subject of narcissism. Thanks so much! I definitely experienced trauma bonding! No doubt. But I got out before he could ruin my family and my life. I hurt for those above who did not get out in time. I am completely NC and have blocked him completely. The only problem is I have moments of relapse and I am tempted to make contact (sleeper cells, I think??). Also, he, for the past 24 years, has popped up into my life (even on my door step) when I least expected it. He has shown up, out of the blue, after five-ten years of absence, and after much effort on his part, creeped back into my life to inflict abuse. So glad I found this website so I can be equipped to send him packing next time he makes an appearance (which always happens when he’s down and out, trolling for my old supply).

  • mackenzie
    November 8, 2012

    What if none of these stories even come close to explaining yours? What if your narc knows he is one and has from the beginning, and you knew he was from the beginning too. and is getting help for it? Even if something bad happened to make him get help for it.. we always knew what we were..and we are both narcs..

  • Dee
    November 15, 2012

    I have been through similar circumstances, however, I was never married to the narcissist. It started as an affair. Both of us were married to others. I was always extremely strong and independent and never allowed any man to treat me poorly.
    When the narcissist and I first met, I knew he was a liar and was damaged from his childhood, and yet I was still attracted to him sexually. I’ve had affairs before, and they were brief, and I never got attached to the men. I had a strange pull to want to continue with this man and experience all the thrilling moments and fun I felt with him, despite already knowing something was severally wrong with things shortly into the affair.
    Whenever I’d try to pull away he’d come on so strong and despite knowing I shouldn’t, I’d go back to him. This went on for over three years. There were several times I told him to go away, and it would be months that we didn’t talk, and yet I still had feelings for him and an intense desire to have the relationship resume.
    I ended up taking him back every time. It was the most strange and puzzling relationship I’ve ever had. I thought about him constantly, pondered and tried to decipher his every word and turn he said into proof positive that I was special to him and that we had an intense bond.
    I could go on and on, but bottom line is that a narcissistic will wreak unbelievable havoc on your mental well-being and yet you will still keep taking them back. It’s excruciating when you are not with them. It’s very much like an addiction and you feel like dying when your not getting the small crumbs of attention they give you. I wholeheartedly agree with all the author has to say, and it’s given me an incredible understanding of why I put up with this narcissist for so long, despite knowing right from the beginning he had big issues, and also despite believing that I knew he was likely a narcissist or sociopath.

  • Gentle River
    November 30, 2012

    My word, a friend of mine sent this website to me and I feel so much relief. It’s absurd how similar every story is to mine, maybe the circumstances are different, but the absurd interactions with narcissists is exactly the same. Thank you, Leah, for assuring us that it won’t get any better for him. On one hand, it’s sad, but I have that same sense of “Why does he get to move on from this and be happy while he left me licking my wounds?” Actually, just knowing that traumatic bonding exists has helped my wounds heal. The weird thing for me is I came to terms with the fact that I had a traumatic moment with him (he coherced me into bed with his girlfriend) and have been doing EMDR for that event, but I could never understand why and how I felt I loved him. Now it all makes sense and I feel so much better. Something else he did all the time, other than lying, is to accuse me of things he was doing. I could almost start to know the truth and know what he was doing by what he was accusing me of.

    Thank you Melanie and everyone else. This has been a life saver for me. The hardest part for me has been him leading me on the last three years at the very end of my childbearing years. I was so angry with myself for not being able to move on so I could realize my dream of a family. Now, I finally feel like I understand enough to be able to move on. Yippie! I feel so free!

  • Sara
    January 19, 2013

    From the moment I started reading this, I just kept saying to myself, “Yes,” over and over again. I finally understand why I long for someone who treats me like dirt–why I would get away, be happy with my decision, but then go back. I made my ex my whole world. When she wanted me, she directed all of her attention to me, but as soon as she had me, she would throw me away, and I would cling and try to win her back–it became a cycle. I just started trying to break the cycle after months of this. It’s really hard not to go back, and now I understand why.

    Thank you Melanie.

  • Donna
    January 23, 2013

    Hi. This all fits me like a glove. Went out with him for 2 years then broke up for 2 then got back together 2. Then married for 9. Then divorced for past 2 years but still in on/off relationship. Hopefully this is it for me now. We first separated after he was cheating then got back together for a year but then he threatened to kill me. I filed for divorce while he was in jail only because I was scared that he would definitely kill me when he came out. But of course while he was in jail he started writing love letters to me and praising me for calling the cops on him. Well the divorce went thru but I’ve been back and forth with him for the past 2 years. In the past 2 years he’s been with 6 other women and always says when I find out that ‘we’re not together anymore’. I finally stopped sleeping with him about 3 months ago. Mainly because the house is still in his name but he refused to do a modification so the kids and me could continue living here. He never did the modification and now it’s under foreclosure. He’s tried to sleep with me since then but I kept refusing so now he’s with someone. And she thinks he’s the best thing for her. Anyways he’s been verbally, physically, emotionally, abusive to me. He twist things around to get his way. Manipulative. I’m doing a lot this time so I don’t go back eventually. Therapy, reading, praying etc. hope it works for me.

  • Broken @ Phuket
    January 30, 2013

    My therapist at my session last week told me two words to go investigate: Trauma Bonding. This was the first site I hit after my search. I was just amazed how accurate the descriptions and situations are at the top, to what I have gone through. I see there are only a few male comments, so I thought I would add mine as well, as I am guessing there may be more men out there wondering what happened to them and totally confused.
    When I met my narc she was the most pleasant yet funny and outspoken person I had ever met. After 3 months of working together she hinted in an email she wanted more. I guessed correctly and she and I started a torrid 3 month relationship. Eventually we made love in places half-way around the world. I thought I was on top of the world. Until it came crashing down that she was not going to leave her husband. Next came chi-town and she told me we could be friends with benefits. After that trip I seldom heard from here until Phuket Thailand. One of the most beautiful spots in the world. SHe was happy to go with me, but I would be paying for her, and it was entirely as friends only. She hardly even talked to me. I wasnt even allowed to hold her hand. I kept thinking she will change because she is still interested in me. THe following 3 months led to a significant drop off in communication with us. Me emailing her daily and texting her, and I might get a response 1 per week.
    She broke my heart. I no longer hope she shows up in my life. It has taken over a year of therapy to put her behind me.
    When times were good with us, I had never felt emotional love that intense before. She was very good at manipulating me, her husband, her parents, her friends. I hope I never run into her again. And I hope I am at least a little bit smarter the next time a relationship takes off so quickly and so intense. – SD

  • claire
    March 1, 2013

    OMG…Im gobsmacked but also feel tremendous relief. i found myself crying whilst reading as this was ME. All of it and it has answered so many questions that I have been asking myself for so long. I have recently left a traumatic relationship and spent a lot of time during and after trying to explain to my family and friends why I felt that I still loved him as they cannot understand at all, yet as silly as it sounded I was trying to explain something that I simply didn’t understand either … until now. I knew what he was doing was wrong and I knew I was wrong for staying with him as I had children that were suffering too. I felt so many different emotions ranging from Love to guilt but I just couldn’t end it. In fact I told him it was over on many occasions but he would be nice again and I would back down as this was the man that I thought I loved and couldn’t imagine my life without him. I constantly made excuses for him as I knew he’d suufered a bad chilhood and hoped and prayed that I could be the one to make him better. As this is recent I’m still on the rollercoaster of emotions as he hadn’t collected all his belongings giving him reason to keep coming back. He knows full well that i struggle to keep him at arms length. When this happens I feel a pathetic fool because I know the way he treated me and my children was wrong. When I read this it was like a light had gone on inside my head. I never would have believed that I was a victim or that I was suffering from a syndrome of sorts. How wrong can you be hey. I consider myself quite a strong person and certainly not a stupid one but I allowed this or should I say someone take over me. No more!!This really has opened my eyes that I’m not desperately in love just need a bit of help. You wanted feedback to your blog well all I can say is this has probably just changed my life for the better. Thank you so much

  • Elri
    March 17, 2013

    Can someone please shed some light on this topic? I have been reading up on
    narcisists after a friend suggested I do it, as she thinks that the man I am
    currently dating is a narcisist. After resurching it I have to say that I
    agree with her, but still I find myself asking the question whether I’m not
    the crazy one. This is really confusing. I am going to give a real
    description of events in our relationship in this message and I need all the
    help I can get. Me and Mr X met 13 months ago and it was a real fairytale!!
    I had just come out of a painfull marriage and was busy divorcing. He sent
    me flowers with little notes, letters, dvd’s and gifts. Said the sweetest
    things to me like when he saw me the first time he just knew that I was his
    destiny. His princess and that I have awaken him from a loveless life. I
    have 2 children and a while into the relationship he said that he couldn’t
    be with me because I had children. I was already hooked !!! I have fallen
    for this man so hard I didn’t know what hit me. I believed, with his help
    that we shared some special bond – an unbreakable love – a twinsoul
    connection. I could feel him deep within my soul. He felt like the missing
    part of me. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic and believe that there are things
    like twinsouls. This is what my problem is, because it is very difficult for
    me to accept that he is a narcisist, it is almost impossible for me to
    comprehend this while I believe that he is my twinsoul. Very very confused
    !! Anyways, he made me see that my children would be better off living with
    my ex, because he is financially much stronger than me, so in the end they
    went to live with my ex. Me and Mr. X moved in together and he isolated me
    completely from friends and family. Saying that no one can come to the house
    because of the state it was in. Nobody, not even my children was allowed to
    visit. So I usually went to see them – but also on Mr. X’s terms and
    conditions. I became entangled in this relationship completely, giving up
    everything, my whole life for it. I spent every waking second with him. He’s
    got a history of emotional problems and was in depression for a while before
    we met. He believes you can’t trust anyone and that everyone are
    backstabbers. He dreams dreams of being very rich and buiding up his empire
    again, which he lost due to his depression. And enjoys being powerful – not
    caring over who he has to walk to get what he wants. This was a roller
    coaster ride – him being a very moody person. One minute he’s fine – the
    next he’s not. He shuts me out completely and becomes someone I don’t know.
    I would try and comfort him and support him, but he usually pushes me away
    which I found very tiring ’cause if I back off I’m the one not caring. He
    told me a lot of times to find another place to stay and then I would end up
    in tears and explaining and apologising for hell knows what – everything
    seemed to be my fault usually. I left once and after a few days he called
    and had a teary heartfelt apology so I came back. After the 7th time that he
    said I should leave I went out and got a flat and moved out. I was beyond
    devastated!!! It felt like I died. The sunday after I moved out he said he
    wanted to talk to me, he said we should keep on trying because he has never
    felt like this about anyone. He said one day he wants to marry me and that
    he knows we were meant to be and that we are twinsouls. He called me his
    princess again. He said that we should live separately so I can spend time
    with my children more often. So I slept over at his place, one thing led to
    another and we made love. The next morning I went to work. After work got to
    his place and it felt like I was being ambushed, because 10 mins earlier he
    was fine and when I got there I was the biggest scum of the earth. He said I
    was a bad mother for giving my kids to my ex and that I’m a trailor woman
    for living in that flat. Said I’m an embarrassment and even though he said I
    should leave I should have stayed because this is our house and I should
    have respect for it. I cried my eyes out, and he put me on his lap and
    comforted me. Said he was sorry and were just feeling hurt. This yo-yo
    effect playing with me like a toy went on for two days. Then he’s cold, then
    he’s warm. I’m used to this by now, cause it has happened a lot, more than a
    lot throughout our relationship. On the second night he told me late into
    the evening after dinner and a fairly nice evening that he doesn’t really
    want to do anything with me anymore. That I disgust him. That the night we
    made love was a test to see if there is anything left and it felt more like
    sleeping with the enemy for him. I was devastated. It felt like he built me
    up everyday just to break me down. I spent the night on the couch feeling
    horrified and hurt. The next morning he was still cold as ice and I just
    pretended not to notice. Then when I had to leave for work he pushed me out
    the backdoor aggressively and shouted ‘JUST GO’,almost slamming my handbag
    in the door. He smsed me later to say that he’s really sorry. I just ignored
    the sms and didn’t reply at all. I heard nothing from him for a week. Then
    he called, he wanted to see me. I went. It was the same as the other 2
    nights, building me up and then emotinally and mentally attacking me. He
    said things to me like ‘if I’m his girl I stay with him and not in another
    house or flat’ and that I must remember together we are strong but apart we
    are weak. He said that the problems in our relationship is all my fault
    because I moved out. And he refuses to accept any responsibility for chasing
    me away, saying that I should have stayed anyways. In his eyes I’m nothing
    more that a trailor woman and homewrecker, destroying everyone’s lives. I
    feel really bad and don’t know what to believe anymore. I question myself
    and my own sanity. He actually said he thinks I might be loosing it. Now
    everything is just hanging – I haven’t seen him again and don’t know if I
    should contact him again. He said I should decide what I want, because
    leaving him would be the biggest mistake I ever make. I’m worried about
    him. I don’t know what to think or do anymore.

    • Lula Bell
      March 28, 2013

      Run! Run fast as you can. As we’ve seen, for psychopaths relationships are temporary deals, or rather, scams. Analogously, for them, other human beings represent objects of diversion and control. The most flattering and pleasant phase of their control, the only one that feels euphoric and magical, is the seduction/idealization phase. That’s when they pour on the charm and do everything they possibly can to convince you that you are the only one for them and that they’re perfect for you. It’s very easy to mistake this phase for true love or passion. However, what inevitably follows in any intimate relationship with a psychopath is neither pleasant nor flattering. Once they get bored with you because the spell of the initial conquest has worn off, the way they maintain control of you is through deception, isolation, abuse, gaslighting and undermining your self-confidence.
      That’s when you realize that the devaluation phase has set in. You do whatever you can to regain privileged status. You try to recapture the excitement and sweetness of the idealization phase. You want to reclaim your rightful throne as the queen you thought you were in his eyes. But that’s an impossible goal, an ever-receding horizon. Every women’s shelter tells victims of domestic violence that abuse usually gets worse, not better, over time. For abusers, power is addictive. It works like a drug. The dosage needs to be constantly increased to achieve the same effect. Control over others, especially sexual control, gives psychopaths pleasure and meaning in life. To get the same rush from controlling you, over time, they need to tighten the screws. Increase the domination. Increase the manipulation. Isolate you further from those who care about you. Undermine your confidence and boundaries more, so that you’re left weaker and less prepared to stand up for yourself. The more you struggle to meet a psychopath’s demands, the more he’ll ask of you. Until you have nothing left to give. Because you have pushed your moral boundaries as low as they can go. You have alienated your family and friends, at the psychopath’s subtle manipulation or overt urging. You have done everything you could to satisfy him. Yet, after the initial idealization phase, nothing you did was ever good enough for him.
      It turns out that he’s completely forgotten about the qualities he once saw in you. If and when he talks about you to others, it’s as if he were ashamed of you. That’s not only because he lost interest in you. It’s also the instinctive yet strategic move of a predator. If your family, his family, your mutual friends have all lost respect for you–if you’re alone with him in the world–he can control you so much easier than if you have external sources of validation and emotional support. Psychopaths construct an “us versus them” worldview. They initially depict your relationship as privileged and better than the ordinary love bonds normal people form. This is of course always a fiction. In fact, the opposite holds true. An intimate relationship with a psychopath is far inferior to any normal human relationship, where both people care about each other. Such a relationship is necessarily one-sided and distorted. It’s a sham on both sides. Being a consummate narcissist, he loves no one but himself and cares about nothing but his selfish desires.
      If and when he does something nice, it’s always instrumental: a means to his ends or to bolster his artificial good image. Dr. Jekyll is, in fact, always Mr. Hyde on the inside. And even though you may be capable of love, you’re not in love with the real him–the cheater, the liar, the manipulator, the player, the hollow, heartless being that he is–but with the charming illusion he created, which you initially believed but which becomes increasingly implausible over time. From beginning to end, all this phony relationship can offer you is a toxic combination of fake love and real abuse. He constructs the psychopathic bond through deception and manipulation. You maintain it through self-sacrifice and denial.

      This relationship starts out like heaven on earth…but ends in a place worse than hell.
      When you’re targeted by a psychopath and deemed a suitable victim for his game of power, control, self-gratification and entertainment, stage one — the idealization stage — begins.
      You think you’re entering an exciting, romantic relationship and that you’ve met the love of your life…but what you’re actually entering a sick game that you’re guaranteed to lose. The object of the game: He will gain power and control, attempt to destroy you emotionally and spiritually, take what he wants, and leave you an emotional wreck wondering what the hell happened.
      The psychopath lures you with charm, attention, hypnosis and other covert emotional manipulation tactics. He will say anything to get what he wants because he’s a pathological liar, and what he wants at this point is to win your love and trust. His loving persona is based completely upon lies. Even so, you’ll believe that you’re “soul mates” because he’s able to present himself as your perfect mate. I SEE THIS CON OR TRICKERY! WE WERE NOT EVER! GOOD BYE!
      The psychopath is not able to bond with another human, but he is good at getting another to bond to him. The whole idealization stage is a sham the psychopath creates intentionally in order to make you vulnerable to the manipulation and abuse that will follow.
      The perfect “honeymoon” stage lasts until the psychopath becomes bored with you (and he’ll get bored quickly once he knows you’re hooked) and is moving on to new targets. At this point, he has no incentive to hide his true nature any longer, so stage two — the devaluation stage — begins. You believed you were once the center of his life, but you sense he’s pulling away. You might not notice it right away if the psychopath is skilled at what’s known as “dosing,” which is giving you just enough attention or validation to keep you on his hook. He begins to change the game to one of giving you just enough positive reinforcement to keep from losing you, while pushing your boundaries further, gradually and steadily devaluing you and taking you lower. You’ll find yourself tolerating continually worsening treatment, which diminishes your self-respect.
      “The more infrequently the crumbs of love are offered, the more hooked you are. You become conditioned, like a rat in the cage.”
      As you become less exciting to him, he devalues you even more. You stay because he’s manipulated you into thinking less of yourself and to accept more of his poor treatment, and you stay because you’re still holding onto the memory of your love from the idealization stage. Fearful of losing that completely, you go into denial and tolerate his increasingly worse behavior. You’ll experience cognitive dissonance as the truth about him comes into your conscious mind, but is still battled by your denial; your thoughts ping-pong back and forth relentlessly as you try to figure out what’s really going on.
      During the devaluation stage, he will continue to use his arsenal of covert emotional manipulation tactics to keep you under his control to keep you doubting yourself, to keep you putting up with his bad behavior and to keep you believing his lies. Learn about these tactics so you have a better chance of recognizing them. No one is immune, especially when strong emotions are involved.
      Because your self-esteem has been so drastically lowered, you blame yourself for not being enough for him or for having another woman in his life. He doesn’t take responsibility for his own behavior, and blames everything — including the demise of the relationship — on you. And in your state of mind, you believe it.
      He constructs the psychopathic bond through deception and manipulation. “From beginning to end, all this phony relationship can offer you is a toxic combination of fake love and real abuse. You maintain it through self-sacrifice and denial.” ~Claudia Moscovici, PsychopathyAwareness

  • Milan Kumar Sinha
    March 18, 2013

    Love with a narcissist is very intense & addicting. But the entire story is full of repeated ruthless EMOTIONAL RAPE. It is a double edged sword.Continuing relationship with a narcissistic is a life of daily emotional torture & leaving a narcissistic is excruciatingly painful. If this the price one had to pay for love, then it is better GOD to remove love from the earth. It seems there is no hope to come out of this situation. One has to silently wait for his last day when he would be freed from this daily dose of unutterable emotional torture.

    • Lula Bell
      March 28, 2013

      It will get better one day at a time. Deprogramming is a first step for me. It helps ease the pain. Somehow when my brain knows the truth and does not believe the illusion the psychopath created. I feel much better little by little.

  • Lula Bell
    March 28, 2013

    I finally really understand the trauma bond and how it happened to me. Many thanks for making it so easy to understand or comprehend. Your laymen terms really helped. Thanks for all you do Melania!

  • Lily
    April 15, 2013

    Thank you, this is very interesting reading and helps give me some answers.
    My mother is in a relationship like this and is in complete denial over everything her husband does, calling him a ‘good man’ despite the verbal abuse, aggressive behaviour etc that she sees with her own eyes, even when directed at her children. I am an adult now and have my own family and would do anything to protect my children, which is why I can’t possibly understand my mothers actions.
    In regards to her husband I always stood up to him which he could never handle as he didn’t have any ‘power’ over me. Because of this his behaviour towards me became more and more aggressive until I made the decision that I was not going to have anything to do with him again. I told my mother why and all the things that had happened over the years, things I had not told her previously because I didn’t want to upset her. She did not believe a word I said and became viscious towards me, attacking me instead and is now trying to turn my siblings against me. It her attempt to take the focus off her husband by making me the bad guy with all the problems. THis justifies her excuses, denials, lies, selective memory and keeps him as a god in her life. She truly lives in a fantasy world and will not face or admit reality.
    This has helped me realise why she has reacted the way that she has and treated me in such a disgusting manner. I hope she can get help to be free of him and her constant talking, thinking, defending, excusing, promoting of him. I know the only way that will happen is by her facing reality. She is seeing a physcologist but is talking about my bad treatment of her instead focusing on the truth.
    For all the women/men who escape relationships like this you are strong and brave. I ma glad there is some help for people like my mother. While our relationship is forever severed I do hope she can find peace and herself again one day.

  • raji
    April 21, 2013

    Truly an eye opener. i went through this very same emotions. Remember feeling a sense of euphoria when he would be kind and human telling myself that things are now poised for a change. Also telling myself that i can see beneath the layers , a compassionate human being and we can make a life out our partnership. Remember being deeply mortified over the treatment i was being meted out b ut continually minimising or denying . The few crumbs of affection would be like the addicts fix waiting and hoping for the next round. God dont know if i can ever get to normal again

  • melisssa
    April 30, 2013

    Omg ! I thought i was the only one. This page has waking me up instantly. “BOOM !” just like that. I, now know that i am in a N relationship. It has been 2 years since… and i couldn’t get myself out of it. It is so hard. Everything has been said here exactly what have happened to me. Back and forth, break ups and back again. The cycle repeats it self. How horrible ! And i still love this man so much. Everyday is a struggles. It s like a war zone inside my head. I am all alone and helpless. No work, nothing accept still roof over my head. I am thinking, thinking and its making me insane.

    I hope i will regain my consciousness and walk out of this toxic relationship. Slowly but progressingly.

    Thank you so much Mel… We need tons of people like you. I am sooooo grateful i have finally realize and come to a term what going next.

    Thank you for sharing Mel and the rest of you – Beautiful souls. God bless u all! M/Wang

  • alison
    May 3, 2013

    I am just shell shocked. This is where I am and I couldn’t see it as clearly until I read this. Thank you for putting it out there and thank you all for sharing your experiences with this!

  • Adele
    May 4, 2013

    Hi Melanie,
    I just wanted to say that I’ve been married to a narcissist for 13 years, we’ve had horrendous rows for years because I don’t trust him and he can be a sex pest at times. Despite experiencing cognitive dissonance and knowing that I’ve allowed him to change my personality, I’m still with him! What you say about trauma bonding is so true. He’s been financially dependent upon me for most of our time together, yet since I started to go to University and had to reduce my working hours he has tried to make out that I’m sponging from him, the irony of it! It’s only been my sheer pig-headedness which has stopped him controlling me as much as he’d like to. Your article has inspired me to say enough is enough and I shall be looking for somewhere else to live a.s.a.p, many thanks x.

  • Mary
    May 9, 2013

    Thank you! To all of you for sharing your stories. I just finished a 5 year relationship, 2 months ago. It is very hard for me, because I dream of him every night, I go to sleep and I wake up thinking of him. He is like a demon inside me. And what I know is that ‘he’ is just a symptom of my own trauma – the one with my mother. I never had a loving mother, I always needed love as a child, so now with my ‘narc’ boyfriend the more love I needed, the less he gave me, and that made me so bounded to him. I really felt he was the only possible salvation for me – to change myself for him, to make him satisfied – that was in my head. Now I see this the little girl, that wants her mommy to love her, I feel worthless, because whatever I do, she couldn’t love me (now I see she herself is uncapable of true loving, she is emotionally unavailable to her children), but in my inside-child I feel, that I am a big mistake and whatever I do, it is wrong or not good enough. So this is one of my greatest weaknesses, and my boyfriend, who had this narcisstic behaviour(I don’t know if he really is so bad into it), but he used this to manipulate me, and I was just trying and trying, but I was never good enough. The more I did, the less happy he was.
    He seems to be very spiritual, and he blamed me for every time we had sex. He says he is doing it just because I have the need and his body responded to my need, and if he were alone he wouldn’t need sex. That made me feel like the devil torturing him.
    Oh, there is a lot to tell. I think most of you know, because your stories are very similar to mine!
    Thank God, there are people like Melanie to give is help and support. God bless you! :)
    And I also want to ask if there are women, who had a trauma bonding, but are now healed and are having a healthy loving relationship. I need to know how they did it, what it takes. For now I am trying to remind myself every time when I have emotional crisis about him, that this is not about him, but about me – the child inside, that needs to be loved. Did I really loved him, or I just needed him to love me so badly, that it was like life or death – just like the child needs the parents to love him – the only way to survive. So I did everything! And now I see everything is never enough!
    I am trying not to see him, not to call him and not get in close touch with our common friends, but is is like I am so empty. I want to put myself in this emptyness and life my own life.
    If there is someone having this experience of healing, I would be very happy to hear about it!
    And thank you a lot..

  • Hannah
    June 2, 2013

    OMG this article explains what happened to me as a child and what I went through for the last 2 years in a narcissistic relationship. Only took me 30 years to get here but best late then never. I honestly don’t know how I managed to survive as a child, move to another country trying to get away from the horror of narcissistic abuse as far as I could. Finally I have answers to questions I was asking myself since I was 6… It will take me some time to process all this since I feel I am still grieving my lost childhood in addition to my relationship. I am just so grateful that this site exists and I cannot thank Melanie enough for everything she does for us.

  • Julianna
    June 5, 2013

    A wonderful article which has provided me with further pieces to put in to my life’s puzzle. I realised my husband had Narcisstic Personality Disorder only 12 months ago after 25 years of soul destroying hell. Reading about trauma bonding now explains why the hell I never left and still persist in this pathetic union with him. I can’t see an end in sight as yet but with each piece of knowledge and the understanding I gain I am slowly healing my wounds and gaining strength within myself. Thank you Melanie. Your work reaches out to people all over the world like me who are trying to find their lost soul and true self.

    • Nancy
      June 7, 2013

      I’m still in Melanie’s last paragraph (copied below). I’m still trying to make sense of all it all. Does anyone have any advice on how I move forward to try to start healing myself then focusing on understanding him?

      If you feel overwhelmed by what has occurred to you, and still don’t want to accept ‘it is not love’, or want to keep your intense focus for extended periods of time on what narcissists are, and why they do what they do, or you want to keep blaming the narcissist’s atrocious behaviour for how you feel now rather than focusing on and healing yourself, then you are not yet in the ‘zone’ of creating real healing and relief.

  • Beth
    June 11, 2013

    I am dealing with an ending of a very long marriage with a Narc. I met him while I was in high school and have been with him for 40 years. He was my first and only, I am the only one of the two who can say that. I had no clue about narcissism until he again left the marriage because of an affair started by going to websites to find a woman, found what I believe is another narc. Then the unbelievable trauma begin. It is getting close to a year since he left, but although no communication, he has done for a divorce and wants to control financially. I have come from the very bottom and have worked my way through the sewer of his actions till I am close to the top. One of the toughest things to deal with is as he is undiagnosed and you know crazy dumped women call their ex’z crazy and as the case, very few people saw his anger and actions, I go through am I just looking for an excuse for the pain of being left after all I went through. I work daily on when I think that, remember when he looked at me when I found out he was seeing women from websites for sex, and said “so! I am going to continue to do it and what are you going to do about it?” It is such a messed situation when you are being honest and kind and you have to defend yourself.

  • Gina
    June 14, 2013

    I’m in tears reading your blog and all the comments. I’ve been in a relationship for four years w the person described to a T! He would give w his left and bang me over the head w his right. In his eyes I was beautiful, smart, sexy, his words “the bomb” but when he was in one of his moods I was a fucking bitch, worthless, ugly on and on but moments after he would say he was sorry and kiss me make love and it was better until the next day…I escaped this life only four days ago, I feel like the weight was lifted off me, I feel like can breath again and I look forward to my future w happiness and hope!
    I was sent to your Page by an unusual person (his wife) who knows about our affair and insists she can fix him…I wish her well she is a good woman and I epically screwed up thinking he loved me…now I know it wasn’t love…
    Thank you

  • di
    July 8, 2013

    Wow.just wow. I’m in tears and speechless. I’ve been in a relationship with a male survivor of sexual abuse and I’ve lost my life helping him deal with his abuse.PTSD, ADD, avoidance, age regression, projection you name it.
    I’ve always felt in my gut that our love was somewhow ‘fake’. this really opens my eyes.
    I feel sick that I have been treated the way I have for so long and not listened to my friends who have been saying ‘run’ for years. he’ll get better, it’s just his abuse. he’ll figure this out for us. the rollercoaster has been absolutely hell and I’ve fallen again into hoping based in tidbits he throws me. I’m in the mode now of denial. I still think he will love me and be there for me. I am trying to walk away. It’s really hard. this article tells me it was never real. wow again. just wow.

  • Bonnie
    August 1, 2013

    I don’t know how to thank you. I wish I could talk to you. What you have done is so brave and so necessary. I’m getting out after almost right years thanks in part to you.

  • Bonnie
    August 1, 2013

    I just read through the comments and now I’m crying and wanting to hug everyone. We should consider a support circle. I’m in San Diego. Does anyone else live here and want to connect and help each other stay strong?

  • Lisa
    August 22, 2013

    I really appreciate all of the effort put into these blogs. I only dated a narc four months. However, I was single for a few YEARS before him. This “soul mate” was a big deal for someone in my position. He was clever and I was over eager and excited with misplaced trust. I am determined to get through this. I realized I am not in the healing zone yet since all i do is study what these people are about and why. I cannot wait to move on! These people have wasted enough of our time!

  • Shana
    August 25, 2013

    Your words help so much to alleviate some of the pain and confusion I’ve gone through in leaving my N. Thank you so much for your insight.

  • shelby
    August 26, 2013

    Until I started reading about narcissism, I had know idea how many men truely are!

  • mary
    October 8, 2013

    I am still with a narcissist/alcoholic since 6 mounth now. I am an intelligent, financially independent and emotionally mature woman. With life and love experiences I never thought that a N man can never happend to me. But he did. We live in different states, so lying and manipulationg was easy for him, until we went on holidays together for two weeks. I thought I am in a mental hospital. He took me to a remote beach with no access. No signals and no help. Rage, humiliation, lies, aggresion on one side, on the other side I am his savor, angel and best friend. Only meditation and my ratio helped me to overcome those days. I left him immediately but somehow I let him came back, promising wonders, but getting hurt, pain and self-doubt. Until few days ago…when I decided to get him back ALL what I endured. I started to lie, to ignore, to play games, to NOT feel, to be rude, to make HIM crazy. I took his role. I know it is not nice, but …please… give me some more days to enjoy his confusion before I really leave him.

  • Marylee
    October 25, 2013

    I have been married for over 48 years to a man I have come to see as a narcissist and possibly a sociopath. I believe my father was a narcissist as well. I have spent years in recovery efforts for myself, worked very hard to stay emotionally intact, and wonder why it is only in the past couple of years that I have seen information on these kinds of people. After all the years that I spent in therapy, I keep wondering why no one told me about this. It is a great relief, at this point, to put a name to this stuff and, due to the sharing of all the others who have been in the same boat, to finally get validation that this really is all about him. All these years my goal was to have a lifetime marriage for the sake of family, which my spouse also claimed to want, but he clearly has a value system that is unto itself and not the one he claimed to share with me. His last betrayal was too much for even me to ignore, and I am now working on my exit strategy at 67 years of age. I’m still working full time, so I have a couple of good years left in me, I guess, but after the time I will need to heal, there will be no more relationships. I will spend the last years of my life as a single lady enjoying my children and grandchildren, doing things I enjoy doing, and hopefully at last be able to spend quality time with friends. No matter how small and humble the roof over my head will be with half the retirement income we would have had together, I will live in peace.

  • Dawn
    January 28, 2014

    I have been reading a lot about “trauma Bonding”. I have no doubt that this is what I have experienced with an ex N or P or S maybe he is all three…I don’t know I just know he is bad news. My question is this….is it possible for the N to experience the same effect with some one they are doing this too?? Hope that makes sense. All through the relationship, it seemed the more I tried to break it off and would actually get so mad that I would spew ugliness as much as he did..the more he would come back…saying he needed me. That I truly mattered to him. It was like we were both sick and addicted to each other. Is this a normal thing to have happen?? Sometimes I felt like I held all the cards and could manipulate him to think and do as I wanted…it was so awful, and I just wanted out..but I would feel so sorry for him, because I had come realize that he was empty inside due to childhood traumas. Thank you for your time on this.

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      January 29, 2014

      Hi Dawn,

      in answer to your question – narcissists are attached to getting narcissistic supply – attention – anything that grants them energy and ‘significance’…so yes they are addicts. And the more you hurt, the more them affecting you grants a reaction (energy) the more they get addicted to it. Any relationship of trying to ‘source self from outside of self’ creates addiction, compulsion, dependencies, enmeshment and toxic ties.

      I hope this helps answer the question, and allows you to realise that essential healing is the breaking of OUR patterns regarding co-entering and co-creating these toxic relationships. Its called ‘seeking love in all the wrong ways and places’.

      Mel xo

  • lainey
    February 4, 2014

    I have been browsing the web for sites to explain trauma bonding and the recovery from it. I am due to start councelling and therapy. my husband and I are separated, due to him assaulting me and going to prison, I know he has been so bad to me, and I am lucky to be alive, but why and how, can I still long for this man, want him and miss him? I have been told I am suffering from trauma bonding? I am glad I have came across this web site, and would love to hear ideas on how to cope with this ache I have, this pain , and the mistery that is going on in my head? when will I ever feel normal? :(

  • lainey
    February 4, 2014

    I have endured, verbal, mental and physical abuse from this man, and left him several times only to take him back time and time again, with each time I get hurt…. and im not the only female he has abused either? I believe every word he says and now we are seperated due to court coming up soon, I just cant sleep or eat for this ache? I just want to have peace in my head and heart? can trauma bonding ever go away? oh and my councellor thinks he is narc aswell :(

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      February 4, 2014

      Hi Lainey,

      what you are suffering and feeling is CONSISTENLY how we all felt – and it is terrible..

      Trauma bonded – totally. Please Lainey read up about NARP and find and listen to the Thriver Shows…that is how this community has healed.

      Mel xo

  • Dewey Dew
    February 5, 2014

    I’ve read quite a few of your articles and I’ve re-read several and this one many times.
    Thank you for providing this rich and balanced resource of information. You really have helped me tremendously. I re-read your articles because my understanding of my own situation (my inner landscape) improves with experience. When I read the articles again, I see the points that I either missed before or am now aware enough to work on. Healing is a process, it’s like waves of understanding. At first you don’t know yourself or your situation well. You think you do, but you really don’t. If I had have known myself as well as I thought I did, I certainly wouldn’t have been a target for an N, let alone the series of N’s that have been in my life.
    Then levels of self awareness and deep introspection showed me that the relationships I was having, the people that were attracted to me and the issues I kept having over and over were an external projection of my internal state. I clearly was not in control of my state.
    Then the journey progresses, and when going through the review process, (review is amazing and I look forward to the time when it comes – I see how far I’ve come and I’m so proud of myself, I’m so awed that this power is in me and mine to use, I’m so grateful I know what I know about myself now) we find these hidden gems about ourselves. That’s what it’s like, it’s a treasure hunt. I’ll gladly route them out, going into the dark deep recesses and finding these veins of pain, for me it is mostly from a very traumatic childhood. At first it was very hard to see the truth about myself. That I was my own worst enemy. Fear and self doubt had me. The grip was very tight. That the survival tactics that helped me survive some horrendous trauma created an operating system in me that couldn’t function properly in a non traumatic environment. Hence the N. The creation of trauma! Epiphany! Big sound of a reality bubble popping! Light bulb on… someone really is home! LOL!
    The truth is, really, it’s about self acknowledgement. It’s our life, our experience and whether we are ready to accept it or not, we do own it. If we can’t accept it, we get experiences like a narcissist, maybe several as has been my experience. I actually am laughing thinking about it now. It seemed so hard before, but it’s really just perspective. For me now, it’s really no surprise when given all of the experience I have had since childhood that I would have a series of N experiences. Not just partners but friends as well. Most surprising of all, three important female relationships, mother and two of my former best friends were highly Narcissistic one of them may well be in the news one day for going over the line. When I think of these relationships as contained memories now that they no longer cause me the pain and self loathing they once were capable of (it’s like the revenge of the narcissist in that they can punish you even after they are no longer in your life. Our pain does that to us. It turns us in on ourselves and makes us our own worst enemy. Thankfully, I’m no longer that. I can actually look back and see, life has been trying to teach me this lesson for some time. LOL. I am grateful I am still here to learn it. Finally and I hope completely.
    Your work has helped me to finally come to this conclusion, put my feet to a healthy path and give me a now and a future with brightest prospects.
    I can see these narcissists in my life for what they are. My lessons. It’s funny how awareness and healing turns the vicious acts perpetrated on us by N’s and ourselves into something that widens our emotional experience and empathy. That we don’t have to give up who we are at our core to repel them. We just have to be real and know ourselves very well. Accept ourselves and love ourselves. That’s the real journey. It’s not about the N at all.. they are just a path. Not a very nice path, certainly not healthy, but it is a path to know what we need to know about ourselves to move into a healthier experience of our lives. It sounds almost anti-climactic, but it feels wonderful.
    I still have a ways to go, but I know I will get there and I’m feeling so good about it. So positive and confident. Thank you for your part in that. You and some of the contributors here are a part of that experience, a part of the healing that is taking place and a part of my success. I find that very balanced, comforting, a feeling of being in safe hands, which is a feeling I’ve rarely had before.

    What I feel I can offer at this point is to tell others to keep at it, you are worth the investment in yourself. Your world is getting brighter, lighter and freer every moment of the journey. It’s your journey, own it, and treasure it.

    Thank you very much,

  • lainey
    February 5, 2014

    Hi Melanie,
    I am unable to find anything on NARP? what is it? , also thankyou for your reply, I need all the help I can get to stay strong this time, as the sensible part of my brain knows he is bad, but then theres me, that just wants him anyway, I also have court soon , and I have the overwhelming urge to text and let him know its not me that charged him, it was the police as I needed medical assistance, he is facing a long time in prison this time , and I feel guilty about that, he wrote to me while on remand, and asked me to drop charges, and for god to have mercy on his soul, I have had 4 letters, one nice, one nasty and so on…, we are not allowed to contact each other due to court, but I feel the need to , he has also changed his status on fb to single and blocked me, I am so hurt, I know I cant take him back this time, as I don’t want our daughter suffering , but I feel there is no closure ? as I cant talk to him, but it doesn’t look like he wants us anyway because he has blocked me :( he doesn’t pay any money to us from his army pension, and went to phillopines and spent 40 grand, and then asked me for money as he was struggling? I used to pay his fair to visit our daughter, then he met a new girl, told me he loved her, and I was jealous he was happy and I was on my own, then I got an email, telling me he was in trouble and had assualted her with bat and was a attempt murder charge, I helped him through his court case, even though I knew it was terrible , and I did feel sorry for the girl, I knew he was wrong I just couldnt help myself , I felt sorry for him as he said she was talking about me and he wasn’t going to let anyone talk about me, I visited him in prison , and he was released after his sentence to my house, 12 weeks later im in hospital and that’s where we are now, another court case only me this time, cant believe he could do it again to me, after me supporting him through a terrible crime he commited on another woman? and giving him love, a home, a family, and everything he asked for, im facing bankrupt, as he just spends everything, all the prison visits thinking that was surely his lowest point, and he would never hurt me or anyone else again? I was so wrong, and yet I still want him, sorry for the long story, guess sometimes I cant believe he is narc, or abusive, and cant believe I feel this way :(

  • Alice
    February 10, 2014

    Thank-you for the article. My son is married to this type of person and nothing we said or did could help him see it. She has isolated him from friends and family and his father and I haven’t seen him in over a year. They dated 18 months, got engaged and 3 months later were married. We were not invited. We have no idea how things are going or how he feels but we know one day he will wake up. For us, all we can do is wait and pray. I feel for all the others who are dealing with this and hope they all find their way out.

  • K
    April 21, 2014

    As both a professional and sadly a victim I wanted to thank Melanie for her article. It has helped me and I know so many others too. Sometimes this is what you need to find the strength to let go and take off those rose tinted glasses. Thank you!!

  • divyu
    June 11, 2014

    not sure it helped but yeah gave me a different angle to view things. Thanks

  • Timothy Rodriguez
    January 14, 2015

    I have been reading a lot about narc behavior and this article resonates 100% of my experience in my present relationship.

    Cognitive dissonance, Stockholm syndrome hit home for me….I am all over those definitions. I do not feel like myself anymore. I walk on eggshells in this relationship. I do not know when she is going to go off. The most intensive emotional roller coaster ride I have ever been on. We met during the worst time of my life and thought that the relationship with her was life vest that suddenly appeared to bring me relief. Both of my parents where on their last year of life. I was there caregiver 24/7 for four years.

    Oh, god I can go on….the intensity of jealousy, lack of trust etc.., etc..,

    Your article hit home and its content hit home.

    Thank you for bringing awareness of narcissistic behavior and how it manifests, its a start.

    Timothy Rodriguez

  • Laurie
    January 22, 2015


    It is by the beautiful power of the Universe I found this site today. I’m so grateful you have written this and have helped so many people including myself. You see, I was married for 23 years to a Narc before my nervous breakdown. My mind and body just finally gave up. I walked from the marriage July 4, 2011 and up until today I still struggled from the effects of Trauma Bonding. So many things you’ve mentioned were me 100%. While my ex was never physically abusive the mental abuse was undeniable and amazingly covered up so well. To the outside world we were perfect, he was perfect. Everyone kept telling me how lucky I was, he cleaned he cooked he “DID” everything. To the extent everything felt like a competition. I began to wonder what was wrong with me, how is it I don’t feel lucky? There were many times he would not speak to me for days and only communicate with the kids but somehow I was lucky. We really had no outside friends and rarely did things with my family. Things were great as long as I did not go against the grain. The emotional toll is unbearable and unrelenting. The young, vibrant and independent woman I once was was no more. I started counseling in March 2011 before I left for good and have been doing it off and on ever since. Not one time was Trauma Bonding ever mentioned. I wish it had because it would have put things into perspective for me and I would have had a better understanding as to why I felt the way I did. Why I could not break the chain. So, while the road may be long to recovery, ITS WELL WORTH IT! What greater gift than to find YOU…

  • AH
    April 10, 2015

    I’m so glad I came across your website. I’ve been with my wife for 14 years (12 of them married) and I can’t tell how many times I would try to express my feelings in a nice way about something and she could take it. She would say that I was weak and sentimental (complete lack of empathy). I don’t know why I kept trying… If we would have a disagreement she would use horrible foul language when talking to me. She would say things like “well that is the way it is in this house” if you “don’t like it leave”. At the beginning when I met her I used to talk to her about my mother and how great she was and how much I loved her. And now she can’t stand my mother…She comes up with this fantasies about how my mother doesn’t like her and makes comments to make her feel bad. I think if I would had told her at the beginning that I hated my mother, maybe she would had liked her. Fast forward all these years; we went to therapy from 2009 to 2014 and that is how I learned she was a narcissist. And even our therapist felt bad for me. We have to kids and 8 year old girl and 11 year old autistic son. Yesterday I finally worked up the courage to tell her I wanted a divorce and told her that today I am going to tell the kids (which I am really distraught by). But yesterday night she started crying and pleading, she told me that she never expected that it would come to this. Reading your blog I am convinced is the right thing to do, but I fell so sad and sick to my stomach seeing cry and plead. She mentioned the kids and how she never dreamed of us being apart, and wanted the best for us and the kids, that she is willing to anything. And I feel like an idiot, crushed like one of those addicted rats about to lose their pellets. 5 years of therapy where I could tell that she would try sometimes but always revert to being herself (lack of empathy and wanting to control everything, insulting my mother, criticizing everybody, always miserable, telling me that I don’t meet her needs, etc). I even feel bad for her horrible childhood. I need to be strong for my kids. I need my kids to see my true self: happy, loving himself, not medicated, etc. It’s so hard…I have such a hard time seeing her cry and plead…so hard…but I need to be strong and tell my kids…and stick to my plan of leaving…I need to learn to love my self.. gain my mental health …etc…and even as it write all this my heart is torn…

  • Dyan
    July 3, 2015

    Hi there, both my mother and stepfather have NPD. I never worshipped them, in fact, I was always angry as hell, and working on forgiveness that never provided any relief. Is trauma bonding difference for adult children of narcissists?

  • Caitlin
    October 18, 2015

    I have recently escaped my ten year relationship and staying at a refuge.
    He raped me on occasion sodomised me, beat me reguarly, spat on me humiliated me in front of everyone we knew,
    I know I have Stockholm syndrome everything in this forum applies to me.
    I have been with him since I was 14 I am now 24.
    I want a better life for myself.
    I’m struggling to let this crumb go.
    My love for him is so intense I would do anything for him and he knows it.
    I go to regular psychology appointments now that I’m trying to heal. I struggle because I feel like he has changed and I cant seem to let him go he doesn’t give a f. About me. Which is what hurts the most. I feel like I have wasted so much time on him, and I don’t want to waste anymore.
    Could u please help

  • Hannah
    December 29, 2015

    Hello all!

    I think I was in a relationship with someone who exhibited narcissistic tendencies (not to mention my own selfish expectations for her and the relationship itself, even when I probably should have left and was being burdensome and confusing to her.). Uh, I guess, I really liked this article, and don’t know how to forgive myself or move on or put the responsibility where it goes for my behavior/feelings now, without beating myself up or constantly focusing on her and ‘what we had.’ I’m very stuck in what I did and trying to ‘fix’ it.

    Or I don’t even know what she really did, when my behavior was motivated by her behavior, and vice versa. I guess, HOW do I move on? I have been stuck in that infantile stage for almost 2 years.
    I don’t know how to get out (like I have thoughts and stuff, but being motivated and doing these things seems so hard.). Especially without her. Or in spite of her or whatever. I don’t want to sound crazy; I just wanted to stay in denial until I read this about making her my god. I literally worshipped her and gave her my control to gain some sort of control. She couldn’t ‘save me from myself’ but she tried (because I put her in that role.). I don’t really know how to let go of this. It’s like, because I started it and could have been better and was controlling, abusive, and narcissistic myself (I think), I deserved it. I’m sorry for sounding so pathetic; I’m not trying to be a victim. Does anyone kind of understand? Thank you for your compassion! <3

  • Still love him
    February 10, 2016

    I’ve spent most of my life in abusive relationships… When I met my husband I really thought he was ‘the one’… I had 2 kids from previous relationships and I really didn’t want another child… Within a month of dating he wanted a baby.. When I refused he said that I didn’t love him and that he couldn’t be with someone who didn’t want a kid with him… So I gave in and got off my BC.. It still took 7 months for me to get pregnant… After our son was born I had to move back in with my parents because he lost his job and the lights got turned off… He refused to work for a while and ended up going to jail… He moved 30 mins away from me back to his home town to live with his parents… He was doing g things that he wasn’t suppose to and I had heard a few stories of him cheating on me but he of course denied it and said he loved me and would never do that to me… He started accusing me of cheating.. He would call me a whore.. Slut.. Cunt.. Bitch… Talk about my woman parts horribly and then of course he was sry and he didn’t mean any of it and I should know that he says that when he’s mad and not believe him… He refused to trust me and for the last yr its been an everyday fight with him… I’ve begged and begged for forgiveness so many times and I didn’t even know what I was sry for… He went to jail for 2 months and was nicer to me in those 2 months than he ever had been… When he got out he promised me he would get a job and we would be together as a family… Well he got a job… And I was taking my kids down every wknd to stay in hotels with him… He ended up losing the job after a cple months but lied to me for 2 wks that he still had it… I always had to call him and tell him where I was going.. Call him why I was there… Call him when I left and again when I got home.. He was able to go and do what he wanted when he wanted and never say a word to me… He broke up with me a cple days ago and it’s me who’s heartbroken.. I’ve tried calling and texting him and he will just ignore me… He did call me 2 days in a row and wanted money but I didn’t give in and even pointed out the fact that that’s all he wanted… Which of course I was crazy for thinking that… I’m driving myself crazy being ignored by him and wondering if he’s seeing someone else… I’m upset thinking that he’s gonna give to someone else all the things he promised me… Idk even where to begin to heal and get over him… Even after reading all this I still don’t know where to begin..

  • enlightened
    April 20, 2016

    Understanding my trauma bond helps me makes sense of my behavior and willingness to continue take the constant abuse. Funny, I have used the words, ” I don’t know what it is, but I am so addicted to this guy” and now after 7 wasted years I can finally address my addiction and get the hell out! I am so grateful to have found this information!

  • JESS M
    April 26, 2016

    Now Im healing from ablifetime in NARP..Thank the Lord and the angels: Im reflecting back on my Dad’s behaviour with the narcissist mother. It held me key to observing thus dynamic. He called her
    “Mummy!” My own Dad…I was shocked.
    The saddest thing was the n mother’s
    Response:”Why does he Keep calling me that!” There was No respect
    And just total Annoyance.
    I sat watching this dynamic of the Codependent bound in a trap to his wife the narcissist.
    It shocked me but I had followed Exactly the same pattern in many “love” relations.
    Time to Change All that now thanks to new life in NARP. Thank you Mel. 😃

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